WSJ: SAT set to assign 'adversity scores'

  • The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the SAT will begin assigning students "adversity scores."
  • The scores will not specifically consider a student's race, but minority students will almost certainly reap the most benefits.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that The College Board, the nonprofit organization that oversees the SAT, will begin assigning students "adversity scores" in an effort to help colleges increase diversity on college campuses. 

According to the newspaper, the test taken by thousands of aspiring college students each year will consider 15 different factors of a student's background, such as the crime rate of the neighborhood where the student lives and the poverty level in that area. The scores will be calculated using publicly available data from the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as some personal information obtained by the College Board.

"The purpose is to get to race without using race"   

While the Journal reports the adversity score will not specifically consider a student's race, it is likely that minority students will reap the most benefits. The Wall Street Journal reported that, on average, black and Latino students score significantly lower on the SAT than white students, while Asian students score significantly higher than white students. 

Students will reportedly not be able to see their own adversity score. 

[RELATED: Study shows diversity heads don't actually help diversity]

"The purpose is to get to race without using race,” Georgetown University Director of the Center on Education and the Workforce Anthony Carnevale said. 

In 2018, 50 colleges began using adversity scores. The score will roll out at an additional 150 colleges in 2020 and nationwide by 2021. 

“There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less [on the SAT] but have accomplished more. We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT," College Board Chief Executive David Coleman told the Journal

The report comes as Campus Reform has documented colleges around the country spending millions of dollars per year on diversity and inclusion employee salaries. One of those schools, the University of California-Berkeley, spends $2.3 million annually on its diversity employees' salaries, according to a Campus Reform analysis. 

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE REPORT: UC-Berkeley spends $2.3 million annually on diversity employee salaries]

UC-Berkeley Vice Chancellor of Communications Dan Mogulof defended that spending in a statement to Campus Reform, saying "this University has an annual operating budget of $2.3 billion, meaning that $2.3m [sic] is less than one-tenth of one percent of our funding allocations."

He also said that diversity funding includes the school's attempts to “support the needs of members of our disabled community and military veterans. Just two examples of how we back up our belief that different individuals need different forms of support and services to thrive and excel here, and that’s exactly what this spending is for.”

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Jon Street
Jon Street | Managing Editor

Jon Street is a news editor for Campus Reform. Six years ago, Jon cut his reporting teeth fresh out of college as an intern at Media Research Center's, where he interviewed multiple members of Congress and former presidential candidates. From there, he went on to complete a stint at, where his exclusive, investigative work was picked up or cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, National Review, and the Drudge Report, among others. More recently, Jon spent three years as an assistant editor at In his free time, Jon enjoys trying new coffeehouses around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and traveling back to his home state of Missouri to spend time with his family.

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