High school students who wish to attend college can take either the ACT or the SAT as their college entrance exam.
Experts say a small change to the way the SAT is scored may help level the playing field in the competitive college admissions process. One local teacher said they will do everything to ensure their students are prepared for college.
The College Board, a New York-based nonprofit that is in charge of overseeing the SAT, recently created a new “adversity score” on the exam to reflect students’ family income, environment and educational differences, according to CBS News.
The Wall Street Journal reported that 50 schools used the new indicator as part of a beta test last year, and the College Board plans to bring more than 150 schools into the process this fall.
“A dialogue about wealth and privilege in educational institutions exploded this year in wake of the college admissions scandal, in which 33 parents were charged with paying huge sums of money to have their children cheat on the SAT and be admitted into top colleges under the false pretenses of being student athletes,” according to CBS.
The “adversity score” number is calculated by assessing 15 factors that can help admissions officers determine an individual student’s social and economic background, according to CBS. These factors are divided into three categories: neighborhood environment, family environment and high school environment.
Each of the three categories have five sub-indicators that are indexed in calculating each student’s advers ity score, according to CBS.
“Neighborhood environment will take into account crime rate, poverty rate, housing values and vacancy rate,” according to CBS. “Family environment will assess what the median income is of where the student’s family is from; whether the student is from a single parent household; the educational level of the parents; and whether English is a second language.
“High school environment will look at factors such as curriculum rigor, free-lunch rate and [Advanced Placement] class opportunities. Together these factors will calculate an individual’s adversity score on a scale of one to 100.”
A score of 50 is “average,” and anything above 50 proves “hardship” with anything below 50 is considered “privilege,” according to CBS.
This new score will appear by the student’s SAT score, according to CBS.
Piper Davis, who will be a SAT prep teacher at Cleburne High School for the 2019-20 school year, said placement tests like the SAT and ACT are one of many measures of a student’s readiness for college coursework, but at their district there are many reasons why a test taken on a single day may not represent the entire picture of a student’s achievement.
“We strive to prepare all of our students for post-secondary success, and that includes preparing students who are college bound to maximize their potential on college entrance testing, providing them with access to rigorous coursework and supporting them as they research a wide variety of options that may include traditional university, community college, technical certifications or some combination,” Davis said. “There is not a single path to success, and a single test score cannot define our students.”