Piercy advises against 'adversity scores'

Monday, May 20, 2019
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

SAT exam students takingThe College Board, sponsors of the SAT test every high schooler takes, will be rolling out a new measurement over the next couple of years. But one education analyst says it won’t be doing anyone any favors.

The "adversity score" is being added to the SAT. In addition to the scholastic number, students who meet social factors like living in high-crime neighborhoods, coming from low-income households, and having parents with little education will get a higher adversity score than their peers.

Education analyst Rick Piercy, former president and CEO of The Lewis Center for Educational Research, says this affirmative action-like plan might be well intentioned, but it sends the wrong message to kids.

"I think it's a false narrative that builds kids up to think that, first of all … they've been pushed down, that they didn't succeed because of whatever their case may be," Piercy poses. "Secondly, that they're then going to be rewarded for that and move up."

The students will not be told their score, but any college where they apply will have it available if they want to use it in the admissions process.

Fifty colleges used the score last year as part of a Beta Test, and the College Board will roll it out to 150 more schools this fall before making it available to all schools for the 2020-2021 academic year.

But Piercy says the schools may not be doing themselves or the students any favors by relying on the adversity score.

"When you start weighting the scores of tests … we're trying to give kids a false sense that because of what they've gone through – which could be horrendous, and could be bad – that we should then give them these additional gifts of scores to put them in a college where the college will then put them in remedial classes," the analyst concludes.

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