SAT to Give ‘Adversity Score’ Reflecting Students’ Social and Economic Background to College Admissions

High school students take the philosophy exam, the first test session of the 2015 baccalaureate (high school graduation exam) on June 17, 2015 in Paris. Some 684,734 candidates registered for the exam to be held until June 24, 2015 in 4,200 examination centres. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU / AFP …

Students who take the SAT college entrance exam will now be assigned an “adversity score” to inform schools of their social and economic background, including the crime rate in their neighborhoods and the poverty levels of their high schools, says the College Board.

As the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, the College Board, whose CEO is David Coleman, one of the “architects” of the Common Core State Standards, the new “adversity score” is calculated by using 15 factors, including crime rate and poverty level – but not race, though schools can obtain students’ race by other means.

The adversity scores will be kept hidden from students, but college admissions officers will see them as they consider their applicants.

According to the report:

The new score—which falls on a scale of one through 100—will pop up on something called the Environmental Context Dashboard, which shows several indicators of relative poverty, wealth and opportunity as well as a student’s SAT score compared with those of their classmates. On the dashboard, the score is called “Overall Disadvantage Level.”

An adversity score of 50 is average. Anything above it designates hardship, below it privilege.

The College Board, however, is not revealing how it calculates its new “adversity score.”

“The data that informs the score comes from public records such as the U.S. Census as well as some sources proprietary to the College Board, Mr. Coleman said,” reported the WSJ.

In 2013, Coleman keynoted an Annual Strategic Data Project conference. During his address, he praised the collection of student data via the Common Core initiative and welcomed members of Barack Obama’s re-election campaign to that effort. His plan was to develop an economic justice project, the Access to Rigor Campaign, aimed at profiling students he referred to as “low-hanging fruit,” or low-income K-12 students.

The adversity score is offered in the midst of a college admissions cheating scandal that has seen prominent parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, involved in a scheme to pay thousands of dollars for their children to gain entrance to elite schools.

In addition, a judge’s decision on a lawsuit accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-American applicants remains pending. The trial revealed the school’s internal policy that blatantly discriminated against Asian-American high school students, holding them to a higher standard during the admissions review process.

David Horowitz, conservative author and founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and its Stop K-12 Indoctrination campaign, said the addition of the new adversity score is another way to make SAT evaluations more “complicated” and “easier to rig the system to get the results that will satisfy the ‘pc’ bigots.”

“I’m beginning to feel sorry for Felicity Huffman,” Horowitz told Breitbart News. “She paid to rig the college entrance system and get her daughter into Harvard or wherever. Now she’s going to jail for a crime that schools like Harvard commit on a daily basis.”

He explained:

For example, Harvard just admitted Jazz Jennings, the transgender star of the TV show I Am Jazz. Anybody who’s watched the show knows that Jazz is a poor student, always disappointing her parents because of her poor academic performances. Obviously, Harvard admitted her because she’s transgender and a TV star. Harvard’s rigging of its entrance system goes far beyond the latest pc fad or celebrity applicant, however. Asian and white students at Harvard – and not only at Harvard – are given a 1-200- point SAT handicap to allow a quota of African-Americans and Native Americans to receive admissions which they could not earn on their academic merits.

“It is no accident for example that the percentage of Jews at Ivy League schools has plummeted since the advent of so-called affirmative action programs which, as practiced, are nothing more than old fashioned racism,” Horowitz said. “Felicity Huffman is being hung for a crime that every Harvard admissions officer commits year in and year out, and that the College Board is intent on continuing and expanding.”

Coleman told the WSJ he has been concerned about income inequality’s influence on SAT results.

“There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less [on the SAT] but have accomplished more,” he said. “We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.”

According to the report, Yale University has used the new adversity score on a trial basis. About 20 percent of the school’s newly admitted students are now low-income or from families in which they are the first to attend college.

“This [adversity score] is literally affecting every application we look at,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions. “It has been a part of the success story to help diversify our freshman class.”

But Peter Kirsanow, a Republican member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, told Breitbart News that, despite its “ostensibly race-neutral criteria,” the fact that “the College Board declines to disclose how it calculates the adversity score raises concerns that this ultimately will be indistinguishable from today’s regime of racial preferences – that it’s just the latest cosmetic effort to soften the appearance of what remains racial discrimination.”

“The lack of transparency justifies the cynical belief that the adversity metrics will magically, invariably produce the same admissions demographics as today’s racial preferences, which are under legal assault,” Kirsanow continued, also pointing to the accusations of discrimination against Asian students at Harvard:

Consider: evidence adduced in the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard case shows that the average SAT scores for Asian students admitted to Harvard were a stunning 218 points higher than those of black admittees; the scores of white students were 193 points higher. Given those huge disparities, the “adversity scores” of black applicants, however calculated, will have to be stratospheric to close the gaps.

James Conroy, director of college counseling at New Trier High School, whose students come from affluent and mostly white communities north of Chicago, told the WSJ the focus on diversity by elite colleges is already high without the addition of the new adversity score.

“My emails are inundated with admissions officers who want to talk to our diversity kids,” Conroy said. “Do I feel minority students have been discriminated against? Yes, I do. But I see the reversal of it happening right now.”

“We’ve been watching a version of this movie for more than 40 years,” Kirsanow concluded. “The ending never changes.”


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