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The College Board recently revealed a new "adversity score" that it plans to use as part of the SAT in order to reflect students' social and economic background.
The mere fact that the College Board sees a need for an "adversity score" is a tacit admission that the SAT isn't fair for all students. But will the new score—formally called the Environmental Context Dashboard—truly capture the challenges that students face?
Education - Researcher - Matters - Equity - Adversity
As an education researcher who focuses on matters of equity, I believe the new adversity score will be an inadequate remedy for a test that has been inequitable from the start.
Variables - Areas - Family - Environment - Neighborhood
There are 15 variables in three different areas: family environment, neighborhood environment and high school environment.
The neighborhood environment includes the crime rate, poverty rate, housing values and vacancy rate.
Family - Environment - Income - Household - Parent
The family environment includes median income, whether the household is single parent, education level of the parent and whether the family speaks English as a second language.
The high school environment includes curricular rigor, the free lunch rate, how many Advanced Placement courses are available and how frequently students "undermatch," or go to colleges that are less selective than the ones they are qualified to attend.
Factors - Student - Area - Household - SAT
These factors won't necessarily explain why a student in a particular area or household did well or poorly on the SAT.
For example, the vacancy rate doesn't capture gentrification, a phenomenon in which predominantly black neighborhoods are seeing longtime black residents displaced by white, wealthier young professionals. So a child from an economically struggling family could be in neighborhood with low vacancy and high home values, but the child's family may be struggling to stay in that area.
Adversity - Score - Parent - Adversity - Student
The adversity score also considers having a single parent as an adversity. However, a student could be in a two-parent household and still face adversity if one or both of the parents has...
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