College Board

It's ok to relax about the new "adversity score"

It's ok to relax about the new "adversity score"

There’s been a lot of talk this week about the College Board’s new Environmental Context Dashboard and “Adversity Score.” And a lot of people don’t like the new program. Some want it to do more, some want it to do less. Some don’t want it to exist at all. And here’s my take on the program:

We can all just relax about the “adversity score.” I don’t think this will be a big deal, nor do I think it should be. Let’s look at some key ideas.

SAT scores should look a lot more like AP scores

SAT scores should look a lot more like AP scores

SAT scores are weird. You get a number, ending in a zero, on a scale of 200 to 800, twice: one for reading & writing, one for math. You get a total score between 400 and 1600...except, of course, for those years when the writing was separate and you got somewhere between 600 and 2400. You're allowed to take the test multiple times and combine your highest reading & writing score with your highest math score, giving you a "superscore" that's higher than the total scores you got any of the individual times you took the test.

And then what? What does that number even mean?

Big Data and your education

Big Data and your education

I wrote recently about a program the College Board is testing to use data about your school, neighborhood, and family to give you a sort of adversity score that colleges can use for admissions purposes. I originally titled the post "Big Data is coming to college admissions," but instead decided to focus on the personal implications.

But since then I've seen two more stories about algorithms--and people gaming the algorithms--that affect your K-12 education and college choices.

Making meaning out of your adversity

Making meaning out of your adversity

A long time ago, over ten years ago, I had assigned a persuasive essay as a practice for the up-coming high stakes state exam. I don't remember the exact prompt, but it was from a previous year's test so it was probably pretty lame. "The Importance of Being True to Yourself" or something vague like that. And, as most anybody would predict, the vague and lame prompt generated a lot of vague and lame responses.

Picking the right school for your major

Picking the right school for your major

I have students ask me--though maybe in not these exact words--how to go to the right for school for "that competitive edge in the marketplace" if you are really sure of your intended major and career and you're not one of those less-driven, wishy-washy people who will change their mind. 

Sigh.

Fine, let's talk about that.