Recently, the College Board announced a new score that would be assigned to them based on a students’ environmental circumstances. This “adversity score” would take factors such as location, family situations, and income into consideration. Those with situations that are considered more “unfair” will be assigned a higher score than others which is rated from 1 to 100. After testing the score at 40 universities, it was found that “Applicants from higher levels of disadvantage were more likely to be admitted, suggesting the additional context influenced admissions outcomes” (CollegeBoard). This meant that students coming from poorer neighborhoods were given a higher chance of getting admitted to a university than students from wealthy backgrounds, even if their test scores were similar.
Although students coming from disadvantaged neighborhoods may have an educational disadvantage, students do not get to choose their living situations. Wealthy children did not choose to be born with money in their families, and poor children did not choose to be born into that either. Giving students advantages based on factors they cannot control seems highly unfair to those who worked extremely hard to earn the scores they did.
Additionally, the adversity score does not take into account specific data concerning the student or personal family challenges, whether it be that a child has suffered abuse, or has lived through other difficult situations. These challenges are overlooked, and only general data taken from censuses and other data collections are used to score the student. While students living in areas that are deemed wealthy and privileged could have very well suffered many personal obstacles in their lives, the only “challenges” taken into account are monetary.
On the other hand, those who grew up in a poor setting may have been denied access to the tools that wealthy students had access to. For instance, wealthy students may have been able to afford a multitude of test preparation services, while poorer students could not, creating a large difference in test scores.
The adversity score takes this into account and allows universities to see the monetary struggles of students that may affect their scores.