An adversity score is worse than nothing: it undermines the value of having an objective, uniform, countrywide measure of academic and test-taking skills that are highly predictive of success in college. For lower class Jews, Cubans, Vietnamese, Chinese, Nigerians, and others, a high SAT score was undeniable proof of the student’s merit even if their ethic background was not the same as the alumni.
The SAT cannot be everything to all people. It should measures a defined set of skills. Other skills and personality characteristics may be useful in college. There is ample opportunity in the Common App or in the essay sections of college applications for the student to explain their individual circumstances. But trying to obscure the thermometer because you don’t like the temperature it is reading deprives us of a clear reading of how hot it is. The College Board should stick to giving accurate, fair, objective readings of student achievement. It should do a much better job to prevent cheating and to ensure the system is not rigged. It is highly inappropriate for the College Board to implement a vague secret system of affirmative action.
If the adversity score is implemented, I predict people who did not get into the college of their choice will sue the College Board. A huge class action civil suit and multimillion dollar verdicts could convince the College Board to kill its diversity score.