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Adversity Scores: The Latest Dumbing Down of US Education

Colleges are jumping on the adversity bandwagon. But what scores are equivalent?
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SAT Score Distributions by Race

Starting in 2021, the SAT will assign students an ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background.

Adversity scores capture things like race, crime rate, housing values, education level of parents and free lunch offerings at schools.

Every high school in the county currently has an adversity score.

50 institutions used them in 2019. This fall, 150 institutions will use them. Adversity scores will be in widespread use by 2021.

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​Hotly Contested

How colleges consider a student’s race and class in making admissions decisions is hotly contested. Many colleges, including Harvard University, say a diverse student body is part of the educational mission of a school. A lawsuit accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian-American applicants by holding them to a higher standard is awaiting a judge’s ruling. Lawsuits charging unfair admission practices have also been filed against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California system.


James Conroy, director of college counseling at New Trier High School, which serves several affluent and mostly white communities north of Chicago, said the focus on diversity by elite colleges is already high and the adversity score would magnify that.

My emails are inundated with admissions officers who want to talk to our diversity kids,” Mr. Conroy said. “Do I feel minority students have been discriminated against? Yes, I do. But I see the reversal of it happening right now.”

Somehow it constitutes discrimination to refuse admission to a kid who can barely read or write because of adversity, but it is not discrimination to hold Asian-American applicants to a higher standard.

Interactive Graphic

In a November 26 adversity score update, the Wall Street Journal asks What Happens if SAT Scores Consider Adversity?

The article has a nice "Find Your School" interactive graph.​

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I went to Danville, Schlarman, a private Catholic school. It was not in the interactive list. The above graphic shows the public school. I am positive Schlarman would score higher.

Otherwise, please note that an SAT score of 880 in Danville is is really 997. Yet, that is still well below the median 1055.

Danville seems hopeless.

Obvious Solution

The obvious solution to reverse discrimination must be ‘Free College for All’ .

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But why stop there?

Undoubtedly, there will still be grade differences. People who cannot read or write or do basic math are not likely to get good grades.

But we can fix that too. And it's already underway.

Inclusive Grading

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Please note Columbia University Promotes Letting Students Grade Themselves.

Honor System

Nothing can possibly go wrong with this because it is on the honor system.

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What About Teachers?

I am glad you asked.

Students can evaluate themselves accurately, but teachers believe students cannot evaluate teachers properly.

Please note Students Say They Prefer White Male Professors: We Cannot Allow That, Can We?

Ironically, we are supposed to believe students will display bias when grading teachers but the students will have absolutely no bias when grading themselves.

Adversity Scores for Teachers

We need "adversity scores" for teachers too as they are clearly discriminated against.

Wait a second. forget about all this stuff.

The solution is much simpler. Show up and get an "A".

Exams Superfluous

Guaranteed Good Grades

Guaranteed good grades for students and teachers alike coupled with "free" education for all will fix everything.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock