The Atlantic

An Imperfect SAT Adversity Score Is Better Than Just Ignoring Adversity

The College Board’s simple, straightforward indicator will make schools pay attention to the tough odds some applicants face.
Source: Martin Bureau / AFP / Getty

Last week, the College Board announced a long-overdue innovation: It will try to put students’ SAT scores in context by providing colleges with an adversity measure that summarizes—on a scale of one to 100—the disadvantages that students suffer when they grow up in troubled neighborhoods and attend high-poverty schools.

But many in the chattering classes immediately pounced on the idea—some because of an applicant’s race and the particular challenges that may come with it, and others because they see it as . The adversity score’s wonkier critics it for trying to reduce the complexities of a student’s circumstances—which could include a parent’s alcoholism or the premature death of a sibling—to a single number. A

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