First things first– it’s not actually an Adversity Score. It’s a tool that helps colleges interpret a student’s SAT scores. This “Environmental Context Dashboard” (ECD) uses data from a student’s school and neighborhood to calculate their level of “disadvantage.” This means average scores from other students at their school, graduation rates, crime rates in their areas, median income and more.


Students are then given a “disadvantage level” in the form of a score from 1-100, with 100 being the most disadvantaged. While this score is important, it’s only part of the whole story. The EDC contains a bunch of information, and there are many things to know about how it will affect the admissions process.  


Here are 7 things that you need to know:


1. The info provided in the EDC will not change a student’s SAT score.


2. Information about a student’s race, ethnicity, or individual demographics will not be included in the ECD.


3. Students are not able to access their ECD report. This information will only be shared with participating admissions offices.


4. Taking the ACT will not prevent schools from seeing a student’s disadvantage score. They will simply convert the ACT score to its SAT equivalent.


5. The program is being piloted to 150 universities during the Fall 2019 semester and will continue to expand to other public and private institutions in 2020.


6. Schools that already used the EDC had higher rates of admission for more disadvantaged students.


7. Two students living in the same neighborhood and going to the same high school will have exactly the same disadvantage score, regardless of race, individual family income or personal history.


Though it is difficult to determine what the exact impact of the ECD will be, especially from school to school, it’s important to keep in mind that the information included in the ECD has been available to universities for many years. Now, it is simply all put into one, easily accessible dashboard. If you would like to learn more about the data used by the College Board to calculate disadvantage level scores, click here.

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