SAT Adds ‘Adversity Score' to Measure Student Hardship

Score will provide admissions offices with context concerning an applicant's neighborhood, family and school environments

The SAT will now add an "adversity score" for college admissions offices to consider when determining whether to make an offer of enrollment to any particular applicant.

The new measure is an attempt to factor in hardships that the student may have faced in their upbringing that could provide greater context to their overall SAT score.

"What we are doing is, for the first time, the College Board is saying we need to measure the resourcefulness of students; not just what they scored on the exam, but what they’ve done with what they have been given," said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board, the organization that designs the SAT test.

The score, officially called the Environmental Context Dashboard, will take into consideration a student’s neighborhood, family and school environments. A student will be scored from 1 to 100, with higher scores reflecting greater hardship, according to the College Board.

"What is exciting is, by putting this information together, you are able to see talent and power that you would have been blind to. It allows colleges to find talent in a much wider group of kids, because [the schools] see that [the students] have done a great deal given the circumstances they’ve grown up with.”

NBC News reports the score calculation, which will be sent to colleges but not shared with students, will be generated looking at factors including the crime and poverty rates of a student’s neighborhood, as well as their parents' income level.

Race is not a factor in the score, according to the College Board.

In addition, the adversity score will take into account an individual student’s SAT score as compared to the overall scores of other students at their respective school, as well as other school-related factors like the number of Advanced Placement courses offered, and how many students at that school are eligible for free and reduced lunch.

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