By Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga, The Washington Post
When students send colleges their SAT scores in coming years, the admissions office might also get another number that rates the level of adversity applicants typically face – or privilege they enjoy – based on crime and poverty data and other demographic information about neighborhoods and high schools.
The “overall disadvantage level,” known in admission circles as the “adversity score,” will be a single number from 1 to 100. With 50 set as the average, under a formula established by the College Board, higher scores will indicate higher adversity. Colleges that use it will see the number on a template called an “environmental context dashboard,” which also includes data on Advanced Placement participation and SAT scores at the applicant’s high school.
The College Board, a nonprofit organization that owns the SAT, is developing the program as its flagship test faces significant skepticism over breaches in test security and the value of the scores.
The adversity score will focus on social and economic factors associated with a student’s school and neighborhood, such as median family income, crime reports, housing circumstances, college attendance rates and parental education, according to the College Board. The formula does not consider race, the College Board said, or individual data about a student’s family or financial circumstances.
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No matter how you look at it, college is an expensive proposition these days. Both public and private colleges and universities have had to raise fees and tuition as costs have increased. As a result, college student debt has skyrocketed and many students end up with loan payments years, sometimes even decades, after graduation. But with some careful planning and creative thinking, there are lots of other ways to help pay for college and avoid being stuck with big loan payments after graduation. One final but important step in the college application process is to include an application for financial aid.
As parents, and grandparents for that matter, we consider it to be a bit of a rite of passage to tell our children just how easy they have it compared to what we went through at their age. File this under the “when I was your age, I had to walk 2 miles to school each day, uphill both ways” category.
For any parent of a college-bound student, SAT and ACT test scores are no doubt at the center of most dinner table discussions. While no one will argue that test scores alone are the deciding factor in college admissions, and many colleges are moving toward a test-optional admissions policy, strong scores on the SAT and or ACT can definitely help a student’s chance of gaining admission to his/her college of choice.