The College Board has dropped its plan to include an “adversity score” after adverse reactions to the project. The College Board announced the adversity score in the spring and proclaimed its death on Tuesday.
As the New York Times explains, the adversity score was to be based on a formula created by the College Board:
The adversity score was made up of the average of two ratings between 1 and 100 — one for the student’s school environment and the other for the student’s neighborhood environment — that indicate the obstacles a student might have overcome, like crime and poverty.
The school and neighborhood scores will still be provided to admissions officers, along with other socioeconomic information.
A Wall Street Journal editorial points out some of the flaws in the adversity score system:
The data are not individualized, so a disadvantaged student attending a high-income high school might not get a boost, while a well-off child of Ph.D.s in a lower-income town could benefit. As we noted at the time, middle-class parents might be discouraged from seeking better education opportunities for their children.
Perhaps more important would be the psychological effect of the score. Students would not be able to see the mysterious metric based on data outside their control. And it perversely implied that material circumstances are the main indicator of student success.
The adversity score faced a barrage of criticism. My favorite came from [U.K] Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson, an Oxford grad, who said that she came from a “disadvantaged background” and would not have wanted to be patronized in the way the College Board intended to do with U.S. students from such backgrounds.
It should be noted that there is some suggestion that by providing neighborhood scores and socioeconomic information the College Board hasn't entirely dropped adversity rating (see Hot Air here).