May 16 (UPI) -- The group that administers the SAT plans to assign every student who takes the test an "adversity score" to provide college admissions officers with information about their social and economic backgrounds.
The College Board, the New York based non-profit that oversees the college admissions test, plans to expand the use of what it calls the Environmental Context Dashboard, which uses 15 factors including crime rate and poverty levels from a student's high school neighborhood after testing it last year, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Fifty colleges, including Yale University, have already tested using the program in their admissions process and that number will expand to 150 schools this fall, before being used more broadly in 2020.
Under the Environmental Context Dashboard, students receive a score on a scale of 1 to 100 based on U.S. Census data, National Center for Education statistics and other records. It focuses on factors including the average senior class size at a student's high school, percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, and achievement in Advanced Placement classes, but does not include race.
Factors outside of school, including the crime level in a student's neighborhood, and the median family income and family stability, will also be considered.
A score of 50 is considered average while scores above that indicate more hardships. Students won't be provided with their own scores, but university admission's officers will be able to access them.
The College Board said it has been concerned with the impact of income inequality on test results for years noting that students whose parents are wealthy and college-educated performed better than their peers on admissions tests.
"There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less but have accomplished more," David Coleman, CEO of the College Board told The Wall Street Journal. "We can't sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT."