College Board abandons SAT adversity score after public backlash

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The College Board called off plans to issue an adversity score to students who take the SAT and instead introduced a new metric after facing disapproval from parents and teachers.

Why it matters: The score, called the “environmental context dashboard" announced in May, used 15 different factors from a student's social and economic background to create a single score for colleges to factor into their admission decisions. Some critics said the scores added to the debate whether race and socioeconomic status should be considered to determine college acceptance.

The big picture: Colleges have struggled with how to diversify their student bodies. The College Board has said it‘s concerned about income inequality influencing test results for years, per the Wall Street Journal.

What's happening: The College Board will pivot to a new plan, called Landscape, that will collect details about students' social and economic backgrounds, but will not combine the data points into a single score.

  • "The revised resource offers greater consistency in the admissions process, providing admissions professionals with organized information on schools and neighborhoods," the College Board said per a press release.
"We listened to thoughtful criticism and made Landscape better and more transparent. Landscape provides admissions officers more consistent background information so they can fairly consider every student, no matter where they live and learn."
— David Coleman, CEO of College Board in a statement

Go deeper: Wealthy students disproportionately receive extra time on standardized tests

What's next

How a chatbot boosted graduation rates at Georgia State

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage

ATLANTA — Georgia State University is leveraging AI-powered chatbots and predictive data analytics to create a new student-advising system that has significantly boosted graduation rates.

Why it matters: It's well known that personalized, timely attention plays a major role in graduation rates at all grade levels. But the students who most need that support are often the least likely to get it.

Morehouse College debt relief will assist parents

Robert F. Smith gives the Morehouse College 135th Commencement May 19 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Billionaire Robert F. Smith's pledge to pay off the Morehouse College class of 2019's student loan debt, previously estimated to be a $40 million gift, will cost $34 million and will "now include federal educational debt amassed by parents," Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: Student debt in the U.S. has reached $1.5 trillion, according to the Center for American Progress, and the class of 2018 graduated with a record average of $29,200 in loans to help pay for a bachelor's degree. Black students are also 20% more likely than others to need federal student loans. The USC Race and Equity Center found this year that public higher education lacks resources to support black students from admissions to graduation.

The financial risks parents take to pay for college

A graduating student wears a money lei on June 14, in Pasadena, California. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Most middle-class parents view paying for college as a moral obligation, not just a budgetary challenge, according to new research by New York University associate professor Caitlin Zaloom, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: Even when money isn't a problem, Operation Varsity Blues illustrates that some parents will go to great, possibly illegal lengths to secure the "right" school for their children. Wealthy parents — dentistry professors, doctors, executives, actors and lawyers — funded what the DOJ has called the biggest admissions scam in U.S. history, to secure spots for their kids at the University of Texas, Yale, Georgetown and other schools.