Things That Matter

The SAT Is Adding An “Adversity Score” That Will Take Socioeconomic Status Into Account During College Testing

College-bound students taking their SATs will soon be assigned an adversity score, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The College Board, the nonprofit that oversees the standardized test, said it would implement what it calls the “Environmental Context Dashboard,” which would measure the student’s social and economic backgrounds to better capture their “resourcefulness to overcome challenges and achieve more with less.”

“There is talent and potential waiting to be discovered in every community — the children of poor rural families, kids navigating the challenges of life in the inner city, and military dependents who face the daily difficulties of low income and frequent deployments as part of their family’s service to our country,” David Coleman, chief executive officer of the College Board, said in a statement. “No single test score should ever be examined without paying attention to this critical context.”

The score factors in aspects like a student’s home and neighborhood environment, like the crime level, the median family income and family stability, as well as the high school’s average senior class size, the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunches and the academic achievement in Advanced Placement classes.

The data will be gathered from records like the US census and the National Center for Education Statistics. From there, students will be scored on a scale of 1 to 100, where 50 would be considered average and any number above that points to additional hardship.

Only colleges where students have applied, not the applicants themselves, will be able to see the scores.

According to CNN, the Environmental Context Dashboard has been piloted at 50 colleges and universities. They hope to expand it to more institutions in the next year.

“This [adversity score] is literally affecting every application we look at,” Jeremiah Quinlan, the dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale University, one of the schools that has used the adversity score, told the Wall Street Journal. “It has been a part of the success story to help diversify our freshman class.”

The new score comes amid a college admissions scandal. In March, it was revealed that several celebrity and wealthy parents were paying their children’s way into elite universities. Some parents paid bribes to have the SAT taken by other students.

But the problem of inequitable college admissions extends back much longer. The College Board says it has been concerned about income inequality influencing SAT results for several years. In 2018, for instance, white students scored better on average than Black and Latinx students, while Asian students scored higher on average than white students. They also found that children of parents who are wealthy and college-educated typically score higher than their peers.

“We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT,” Coleman said.

Read: If Aunt Becky Isn’t Paying For You To Be Admitted Into College, Try These Latino-Specific Scholarships And Studying For Your SATs

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‘Side Hustle’ Episode 2: Nude Modeling And Friend Rentals

Things That Matter

‘Side Hustle’ Episode 2: Nude Modeling And Friend Rentals

mitú / dorainwoodmusic / Instagram

Side hustles aren’t just limited to freelance writing gigs. There is a vast world of side hustles that can make people a lot of money. Some of them involve art, modeling, and unusual rentals that people would need. That is what the second episode of mitú original series “Side Hustle” is all about.

“That’s not art. That’s you being nude.”

Dorian Wood and Tatyana are young Latinos trying to make it in this wild world in which we live. While some people rely on a regular 9-5 job to make everything work, these two people found a way to take something they like to do and make it profitable.

Wood is using his body to make money and a name for himself with a global audience. His art is something that some people just don’t understand but he is beloved in the art world for his performance art. His nude body is the subject of his work and he has been featured in art shows around the world.

Tatyana is a college student working her way through college like so many others. However, she is taking a different route to pay for her college courses instead of working a retail job. What she has to offer is friendship and it’s paying off.

Wood might be celebrated for his art but his mom has some thoughts.

“I did a show in Madrid and this artist comes up to me after the show and offers to do a mural of me so I just said, ‘Okay. What have I got to lose?’ A few months later he sends me this video of him putting the finishing touches on a four-story mural in Segovia in Spain of me completely naked and my jaw just dropped,” Wood tells co-host David Alvarez. “‘El Gordo’ is what they called the mural. It somehow just triggered something in me. I was like, ‘Oh. Okay. What if I tried art modeling?'”

Wood admits that his friends and family are a little confused by his work. He adds: “They think I’m insane. My mother sees me posing nude and doing nude performance art and she’ll tell me in Spanish like, ‘You know. That’s not art. That’s you being nude.'”

Tatyana loves to make friends and now that makes her some money.

“This is just a way for me to pay for classes,” Tatyana explains to co-host Sahsa Merci. “There was a list of 100 things you could do to make side money and I checked a bunch of them out. The Rent-A-Friend seemed like something I could be good at. So, I started it and I really liked how it was.”

Tatyana says that “it was definitely a little too delicate to talk about at first.” She added. “They know that I enjoy making new friends so for me to get some benefit out of it, also financial help for my school, they were happy about that.”

READ: Cuddling And Wrestling Are Just Two Ways To Make Money On The Side

In-Person Courses Have Been Canceled As Well As Recreational Activities, Now Students Are Protesting To Cancel SAT Exams Due To Coronavirus

Things That Matter

In-Person Courses Have Been Canceled As Well As Recreational Activities, Now Students Are Protesting To Cancel SAT Exams Due To Coronavirus

@college_bloom / Instagram

Virtually every sector of the U.S. economy has taken a hit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The education sphere is no exception.

According to a recent report by the Washington Post, “an estimated 1 million high school juniors are missing the chance this spring to get their first SAT score, and many others face uncertainty about when they can take the ACT.”

Widespread exam cancellations and postponements have left many students uncertain as to what they will do come application season when many universities and colleges require the test.

Now students are calling colleges and universities to call an end to the tests altogether.

#TestOptionalNOW is the new trending hashtag that students across the nation have created in response to the uncertainty the virus has caused the tests. The hashtag along with a petition by Student Voice.imploring universities to waive the standardized testing requirements for freshmen applicants in the fall of 2021.

But many students are asking for just a temporary suspension, not just during this time of uncertainty. After all, the standardized exams have for decades been scrutinized for the inaccurate measures of intelligence and success.

The college scandal of 2019 —thanks to Aunt Becky and her wealthy cohorts— is just a recent look at how privileged people can easily change the outcome of tests and admissions only by forking money over to do so. Academic-based bribery is hardly a new scheme in the admissions process and the ways in which the system has become intricately rigged to keep out minorities is only just beginning to gain exposure. Minorities and low-income people are marginalized when it comes to admissions, test scores, and the workplace — it’s a system that continuously unbalances society.

When it comes to the SATs, an assessment test meant to categorize students solely on academic merit, this truth is no different.

The original intention behind the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is to show where a student stands among their peers, to indicate what their next educational move should be.

The SATs date back to the mid-1920s.

Carl C. Brigham, a psychology professor at Princeton University whose early writings strongly influenced the eugenics movement and anti-immigration legislation in the United States, created the SAT for College Board in 1926. Brigham proposed and produced the test after make observations that he said proved “American education is declining and will proceed with an accelerating rate as the racial mixture becomes more and more extensive.”

According to PBS, the College Board “puts him in charge of a committee to develop a test that could be used by a wider group of schools.” And “In 1926 the SAT is administered to high school students for the first time.”

However, the wording as to why students had to take the SATs in the first place is marred with racial discrimination.

The SATs came during an immigration wave, and college boards and universities wanted to define who would be allowed in. The test doesn’t necessarily attest to who is smarter but more extensive information about the student, their race, and economic background. And yet, college admissions board do not consider this a factor in their admissions process. Proving that in a deeply flawed and unequal educational system, where segregation is still alive and well, colleges and education systems continue to fail students of color and those who are not. After all, research has shown that diversity in school’s only further benefits students, particularly in fields that are related to critical thinking and problem-solving.

The truth is that high-stakes standardized tests work in ways that reinforce racist and discriminatory systems of old. Continuing to accept notions that standardize tests are merit-based only perpetuate the race and class gaps reflected in their results.

Now the SATs will include an “adversity rating” that will allow colleges to know the school that a student came from to evaluate them in a more fair way.

The rating — 1 to 100 — would help the college board (who own the SATs) understand a student’s quality of education based on the neighborhood, the school’s economic standing, and other relevant information. So, if a student doesn’t do very well on the SATs, the rating would reveal as to the hardships that student endured. The rating does not include information about their race, but more so the economic struggles.

Some people feel that the “adversity rating” is something people could take advantage of by lying about where they live.

For example, if a parent knows that their child may not do well on the SATs they could lie about where they live to get a better adversity rating. This would help them achieve a better score.

“The idea that ‘this is a great SAT score for someone from your neighborhood, for someone of your background’ — it’s not fair to the students,” Venkates Swaminathan, a college admissions consultant told The Washington Post.

Others say the “adversity rating” will be a significant boost to go alongside affirmative action.

“Merit is all about resourcefulness,” David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board, said to the New York Times. “This is about finding young people who do a great deal with what they’ve been given. It helps colleges see students who may not have scored as high, but when you look at the environment that they have emerged from, it is amazing.”