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"Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

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Replies to: "Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,617 Senior Member
    @roethlisburger I am and will do. Thanks.
  • havesomehearthavesomeheart Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    The author of “Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race” has written an opinion piece in the NYT titled, The SAT’s Bogus ‘Adversity Score’. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/opinion/sat-adversity-score.html?action=click&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=Article&region=Footer&contentCollection=Opinion

    Given the attacks on AA in the Harvard and UNC lawsuits, I think that this is where admissions committees are headed (if not already there: in a separate NYT article, it is reported that Yale has used the College Board’s new tool for two admissions cycles, said Jeremiah Quinlan, the dean of undergraduate admissions.).

    As one pundit states in the article, “the purpose is to get to race without using race”. I’m curious to what you all think (especially @changethegame) about the new SAT initiative as well as to the opinion piece which was strongly against the initiative.
  • OhiBroOhiBro Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
    The adversity score seems pretty slimy to me. If it weren’t, they would be more transparent by telling us how it is figured, and letting kids know what their adversity scores. This seems unprecedented to be judged on a number that you aren’t even allowed to know.

    Also, they try to lend credibility to the adversity score by saying it is “data-driven”, implying there is some sort of fancy data science and artificial intelligence behind the score. The problem is that there is no objective metric for adversity to base artificial intelligence models upon. Models typically target metrics like sales, profit, positive identification, etc.
  • ChangeTheGameChangeTheGame Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    @havesomeheart I have not read much into the new SAT initiative at this point but what I have read so far does make me pause. I have read that there are 3 main components. The issues that are involved in seeing the adversity that a student goes through is 3-dimensional and very complex, so it is hard for me to even envision how an Adversity index score (seems like a 1-dimensional measure) could capture what is going on in a student’s life. Just as an example, one of my few friends I knew who was raised by two educated biological parents, and grew up upper middle class neighborhood had a terrible home life (due to a sickly parent and a functioning alcoholic parent who was always working) and had a much tougher home life than I did despite my household having 1/8th of the wealth of his household. How can a score measure that?

    But if College Board lost a percentage of students taking the SAT who may be adversely affected by this new Adversity index in favor of the ACT, I have no doubt this policy would be unceremoniously dropped. I also wonder what would happen if the data showed that students within a certain index score are much more successful at a school? Do you go the other way and look for more students in that range? Does trying to find students in every range at certain percentages become a “defacto quota” of sorts? I am not worried about the implications at this point, but there would need to be a lot of transparency (How the score is calculated and how schools would use such an index in admissions decisions) but it just seems too simplistic a method for what is such a complex multidimensional topic.
  • APCaptainAPCaptain Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    interesting discussion
  • havesomehearthavesomeheart Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    @changethegame you raise good points similar to what the author of “The SAT’s Bogus ‘Adversity Score’ does.
    Yet exactly what constitutes privilege and disadvantage can be counterintuitive: There is no metric to take into account the casual racism that I had to navigate in my [white] neighborhood, a difficulty I was keenly aware friends of mine on the more socially cohesive and nurturing black side of town were often able to avoid. … And so the dehumanizing message of the new adversity index is that America’s young people are nothing but interchangeable sociological points of data — and the jagged complexity of an individual life somehow can be sanded down, quantified and fairly contrasted. … Thus, whatever one’s views on affirmative action, this new score introduces an inscrutable redundancy — one that cannot be disputed or appealed.

    Also you mention the need for transparency, but it looks like there will be very little of that forthcoming. And a Wall street journal article on SAT diversity score (https://www.wsj.com/articles/sat-to-give-students-adversity-score-to-capture-social-and-economic-background-11557999000) reports that the makers of the ACT are working on something similar which they will announce later this year.
  • dragonmom3dragonmom3 Registered User Posts: 421 Member
    Why do we need more bureaucratic influence in the hands of the College Board?
    Don't they already have an almost irrational amount of power?
    Don't most colleges do these type of calculations already, more or less according to their institutional values and need?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,161 Senior Member
    dragonmom3 wrote:
    Don't most colleges do these type of calculations already, more or less according to their institutional values and need?

    Most selective colleges are only moderately selective, where academic stats (GPA, rank, test scores) are likely the only thing (besides which admission bucket, like major, division, in-state, depending on the college) that matters for most applicants.

    Also, most do not have enough FA budget to give good FA, so "high adversity score" admits would not benefit the college (unlikely to matriculate, or more likely to drop out due to running out of money if they do matriculate).

    Even good FA schools need to regulate their FA spending, so using this "adversity score" would only be for adding more input to existing processes, not necessarily increasing the number from disadvantaged backgrounds.
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