On That SAT Adversity Index

SAT Adversity Index, Adversity Index, College Board Index
The Seattle Times supports the SAT Adversity Index, arguing it will be of value to colleges.

In an editorial published this week in The Seattle Times, The Seattle Times editorial board came out in support of the SAT Adversity Index. The board argued that opposition to this index was predictable and then included paragraph after paragraph with evidence-based support of why the Academic Index is called for — and needed — in college admissions. We’re kidding of course. While the editorial board dismissed opposition to the index as predictable, the writers failed to include any evidence-based support of why it is needed in admissions whatsoever. After reading the piece, we were frankly surprised it was authored by the editorial board of a reputable publication when it lacked the substance of a piece for a middle school bi-monthly student newsletter.

A Paper’s Editorial Board Supports SAT Adversity Index But Offers Little Justification for Their Support

As the editorial board writes, “Schools and the College Board must walk a fine line. They can’t just ask applicants if they come from broken homes or have parents with no college degree or criminal records. Applicants may share whatever they want in their admission essay, of course, but it would be inappropriate for a school to demand such detailed personal information.” Yes, we’d argue it’s inappropriate for College Board, a private company, to demand such detailed personal information. Why is it ok for College Board to pass this information along to colleges but it’s not ok for colleges to demand such detailed personal information themselves? The logic is confounding to say the least.

But their confounding logic doesn’t stop there. The editorial board writes, “The adversity index is one more tool to help schools understand applicants and identify the ones who can excel in higher education and contribute to a diverse, robust academic environment on campus.” Oh? This number — a number that is based on an algorithm that has not been fully released — is a tool to help identify students who can excel in higher education? In that case, scrap the SAT. Scrap admissions essays. Scrap high school coursework. Why not just ask applicants to submit their Adversity Scores to college admissions offices? The ridiculousness. We believe this number — a number we’re all more or less in the dark on — will not help colleges fairly identify who can excel in higher education any more than could IQ tests decades ago.

The board wraps up their piece with a real gem: “The adversity index is new. As more schools begin to use it, it might need to be refined, but it already adds crucial information to the admissions conversation.” It might need to be refined. Hmmm. Yes, well, in the meantime, let’s encourage College Board to submit unrefined scores to college admissions offices. After all, what are college admissions officers to do without this crucial information?

If you’re curious to hear our specific thoughts on the SAT Adversity Index, check out this post on the index or watch us below on Business Insider Today. You see, there was no need for us to address the specific flaws of the index to respond to the editorial in The Seattle Times. And why? Because the editorial board offered no real specifics to which we could respond!


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1 Comment

  • BP says:

    Hi, I had a 0 on the SAT but a diversity score of 1600. Do you think I can get into all the top US News schools?

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