To the Editor:
In Barrie Qualle's column in the May 29, 2019, Chieftain, he laments the proposal for the College Board to calculate an adversity index for students taking the SAT test and to use the index to adjust SAT scores, in particular by adding points to the scores of students deemed to be disadvantaged. This would clearly be a gross injustice if it were true, but it's not exactly true.
It is true that the adversity score would be assigned based on a combination of factors, including a student's neighborhood environment (based on crime and vacancy rates), school environment (graduation rates; the number of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches), and family environment (income, education level, and marital status of the parents). Race, by law, cannot be considered as a factor.
But, it is decidedly not true that the adversity score would be used to "give disadvantaged students extra points" on their SAT scores. The adversity score would be a separate, independent measure intended as an additional tool for use by college administrators to assess the potential worth of students applying for admission. In deciding between two students with identical SAT scores, for example, it could reasonably be assumed that the student with a much higher adversity score might have more intelligence, more native ability, and more gumption than the student with a lower adversity score, and thus more likely to succeed in college and beyond.
There can certainly be valid questions about the algorithm used to assign the adversity score and the score's transparency. But the assertion that the score will be used to add "arbitrary points to someone's SAT score" is completely false.