This is somewhat GOOD NEWS! We are glad that the SAT will hopefully stay as it is intended, a test that levels the playing field for all students regardless of where they live or go to school. The College Board is replacing the Adversity Score with the SAT Landscape Program. It has a similar flair by providing data about schools and neighborhoods but there is no score attached to it. The former would have reduced a student to a single point system from 1-100 with over 50 showing the student has adversity in his or her life. As predicted by us and many others, this was not a very practical measure, since adversity can vary and cannot be measured by a number.
The Adversity Score lacked transparency by not showing the student their score, or giving them the opportunity to change their information. At the same time, the former Adversity Score plan left room for the dishonest to game the system when filling out this voluntary questionnaire. The possible rampant cheating could have been a nightmare for the College Board, leaving them open to numerous lawsuits.
The SAT Landscape Program is supposed to provide information on a student's College Board account. "Starting next year, counselors, students and parents with a College Board account, will be able to access the same information about their high school and neighborhood that colleges will see in Landscape." There will be no personal information asked of the student regarding their family unit or personal hardships, but the focus will be limited to school and neighborhood information.
The College Board website notes that they will “continue to review and refine” this new program indicating the program may not be as definitive as they want it to be. Just as the former Adversity Score, the SAT Landscape Program is open to its own form of backlash.
The SAT is designed to test the critical thinking skills of each student which is something we all have in common. Because a 4.0 at one school is not the same as another, this test is the great equalizer for all applicants. Colleges receive their national rankings based on tests scores so the higher the score, the more money students get!
One of the main reasons the SAT was redesigned in 2016 was due to more students taking the ACT than the SAT. This was a historical first. That's why David Coleman, president of the College Board, hired ACT writers to rewrite the SAT, resulting in both tests having a similar format.
Something as controversial as the Adversity Score could have caused a significant amount of students to invest in taking the ACT or the new CLT, so money was probably a big factor in backing off of the Adversity Score plan. Money talks.
The SAT scores will not be affected by any information from the Landscape Program—that would be problematic. The test itself isn’t designed to show anything except how well you can answer questions under pressure, in a short amount of time. i.e. testing critical thinking skills. This is the one element that all applicants have in common. The College Board even trademarked the name, “SAT Reasoning Test.”
All students, regardless of neighborhood or school, can beat a test like the SAT. It is a logic test and uses the same recurring rules, patterns and profiles on each exam so it can be figured out. Most students, even smart ones, bomb the SAT because it takes a different skill set to ace this test. The questions are purposely misguiding, and the wrong answers are tricky and easy to pick. With about a minute per question, students often spend too much time, working the problems the long way and simply burning up the clock. The good news is that the questions can be answered in 30 seconds or less. For more information on SAT myths, click here.
Students should make studying for the SAT a priority. It can open incredible doors that range from college entrance to amazing scholarship offers. The benefits can be life-changing and set students up in life by starting their career debt-free.
CPG Founder | Author
Jean Burk is the author of the award-winning College Prep Genius program and has written numerous articles about the SAT and PSAT tests, high school prep, college prep, and how to get free college. She is a Fox News Contributor and has been featured as an SAT and Educational expert on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, TXA21, CW33, WE, Forbes, UShop TV and The Homeschool Channel.
She currently travels and speaks about the importance of college preparation at conventions, book fairs, schools, libraries, etc. She has taught her revolutionary, award-winning “Master the SAT” Prep Class all over the United States, mainland China, India, Hong Kong and Thailand. Her program is now also online at www.collegeprepgenius.com .