SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – High school students who take the SATs will not only get a test score, but now they’ll also get an adversity score.

The College Board, which administers the test, said the score will take into account the high school the students attend, poverty level in their neighborhood, as well as crime rates.

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The new score — first reported by the Wall Street Journal — comes amid heightened scrutiny that colleges are facing over the admissions process and the diversity of their student bodies.

The adversity score captures a student’s social and economic backgrounds and is calculated using 15 factors. That score is then sent to colleges along with the application. In the future, all students taking the SATs would receive an adversity score from the College Board.

Duane Wilson, Executive Director of San Francisco Achievers, a non-profit dedicated to supporting African-American students who want to go to college, says he understands the concerns prompting the change.

“With all the different scandals going on in the news about college admissions, I can understand how some of the students would feel offended, they may feel betrayed,” says Wilson.

High school graduate Iheem Antone grew up in Sam Francisco’s Bayview District and is the first in his family to go to college. He is one of the almost 50 students recognized during Thursday night’s San Francisco Achievers awards ceremony.

“It just means a lot to not only me, but my family,” said Antone, who is heading to Dillard University in New Orleans in the fall.

However, Antone is among other students who also question whether the score could help or hurt college applicants, and says he should be able to apply on his own merits.

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“Just because we are from a certain area, because we look a certain way, because we are a certain race, certain economic status, that now, we have to have benefits, like we cannot do it on our own,” said Antone. “If they looked at me for who I was as an actual student, they would be very impressed.”

The College Board says race is not factored into adversity scores. Instead, the scores are based on factors like the student’s high school’s average senior class size, percentage of students eligible for free and reduce lunches and academic achievement in Advanced Placement classes.

A student’s environment at home and in his or her neighborhood, like the crime level, the median family income and family stability, will be factors as well.

In a statement, College Board CEO David Coleman said the score is supposed to “shine a light on students who have demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness to overcome challenges and achieve more with less” and highlight students who would otherwise be overlooked.

Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki says the score is needed for many of their students.

“Give kids who maybe come from disadvantaged circumstances a little bit of a push to get into a school they want to go to,” said Sasaki.

The biggest issue many critics have with the scores is the fact that they aren’t shared with the students – only the universities. Also, it’s not clear exactly what criteria are used to come up with those scores.

The scoring could be rolled out next year, and the College Board’s goal is to provide these scores for every student by 2020.


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