The College Board is looking to level the playing field between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds by including an adversity score along with their traditional SAT scores.
The nonprofit behind the test that weighs heavily on many college admissions said that they wanted to create a way to factor in accomplishments outside of scholarships. They noted that a person who had to overcome other hardships might have done more only to score less.
"There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less (on the SAT) but have accomplished more," David Coleman of the College Board told the Wall Street Journal. "We can't sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT."
The number will not be shared with students, but admissions officers will be able to see it alongside the student's traditional scores. The WSJ reports that the score will be determined using 15 factors, including crime statistics and poverty levels in a student's neighborhood and within their high school. The scale is from 1 to 100, with 50 being considered average.
The score was beta tested at 50 universities and will expand to 150 schools this fall. At Yale, admissions officers are already singing the program's praises.
"This (adversity score) is literally affecting every application we look at," Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Journal. "It has been a part of the success story to help diversify our freshman class."
Quinlan added that the number of low-income students at Yale has nearly doubled in the wake of the test. However, the reaction online was largely negative, split between people who feel the measure isn't enough and others who think that the move will undermine the idea of getting into college on merit.