The nonprofit organization that oversees the SAT exam will assign all test takers an “adversity score” to formally position them on the privilege scale, according to a new report.
The College Board will examine 15 metrics – including crime and income levels in an applicant’s home neighborhood – to calculate the number.
College officers will now be able to take the figure into account in assessing individual scores on the pivotal entry test – and ultimate worthiness for admission.
The move comes amid a roiling national debate over the use of high stakes tests in competitive admissions across all grade levels.
Detractors argue that kids from affluent backgrounds enjoy an unfair advantage through access to often costly test preparation classes and individual tutoring.
Black and Hispanic kids, they assert, are placed at a steep disadvantage under the current structure.
“We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT,” College Board chief executive David Coleman told the newspaper.
Last year, Asian students notched the top marks on the test, scoring 100 points higher than white students, 277 points higher than black students, and 233 more than Hispanic students.
As the premier performers on the SAT, many Asian groups have bristled at the growing push to refashion admissions in a manner that will necessarily cull their numbers.
In a series of lawsuits, Asian plaintiffs argue that their kids are being held to higher academic standards than other racial groups and that qualified applicants are being denied placements they’ve earned.
Top colleges have espoused increased diversity on their campuses in recent years, arguing that it enriches student experiences across the board.
The College Board declined to reveal their exact methodology in calculating the new score, according to The Journal.