Editorial: new adversity scores cause more harm than good for SAT


Juleanna Culilap

The barring of teaching race in the school education systems is counterproductive and does more harm than good.

Wingspan Staff

The start of a new school year brings another round of SAT exams as seniors try to finalize their college plans. Back in the spring, College Board announced that starting in 2020, it will provide colleges with an additional adversity score for each student that will give insight into a student’s school district, socioeconomic status, and the amount of crime and violence in their respective areas. 

Although the adversity score sheet likely won’t do any harm, it may not be doing much good either. Evening the playing field is great, and this is a step in the right direction, but this is a very empty action for College Board to take. 

College Board has stated they want this new score sheet to help kids with a disadvantage, however they fail to acknowledge the fact that they actually profit off of the disadvantage they seem to suddenly care so much about. College Board administers AP exams and SAT tests, both of which play a big role in a student’s college applications. 

These tests do not come cheap, and preparing for them can be even more expensive. Students have pay to take these tests, and they often times need to invest in textbooks, extra classes, and material to complete coursework. In order to get into a good college, students need good scores, and this costs money.

This will help to some extent, and colleges will be able to better contextualize SAT scores, but if the Board really wanted to help students in less fortunate areas, they would invest in their education themselves. Instead of every student having to pay hundreds of dollars per test and exam, the Board could implement a system that works like the free and reduced lunch system in schools now. If a student’s family falls below a certain annual income, they should qualify for reduced test prices. 

But quite frankly, scolding College Board for something that was designed to help students in need would be unfair without also acknowledging the privileges that come with going to a Frisco school.

Frisco is considered to be safer than many U.S. cities, with the residents earning an average of $120,701 a year. 92 percent of all FISD students pass the STAAR, and the district provides many extracurricular and academic opportunities through things such as CTE center, which is something many other districts can’t afford. Districts not even an hour away, such as DISD, can’t even afford some of the resources Frisco has.

However, a kid who is bright and talented may not be able to reach their full potential just because of the situation they were born into. These students go through obstacle after obstacle, and are faced with so many hardships in their personal and school lives. And to that note, there are students in places like Frisco who also have hardships, and also face personal issues that may affect their academic careers. All of these struggles are much more nuanced than just a few statistics and graphs, and should not be reduced to mere numbers on a page. 

An adversity score isn’t going to help kids in low income areas get the education and resources they deserve. It isn’t going to provide them the tools they need to graduate. All it does is merely point out the deeper issue, which is the fact that the quality of your public education in America depends on how much money your family makes.

And that’s wrong. Every student, regardless of their socioeconomic status, deserves the same chances, opportunities, and resources as the ones in districts such as Frisco ISD or Highland Park ISD. So if College Board really wants to help kids with disadvantages, they’ll start by making their own materials and exams more accessible for all students.