Adversity Scores: The Latest Dumbing Down of US Education

Mish

Colleges are jumping on the adversity bandwagon. But what scores are equivalent?

Starting in 2021, the SAT will assign students an ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background.

Adversity scores capture things like race, crime rate, housing values, education level of parents and free lunch offerings at schools.

Every high school in the county currently has an adversity score.

50 institutions used them in 2019. This fall, 150 institutions will use them. Adversity scores will be in widespread use by 2021.

​Hotly Contested

How colleges consider a student’s race and class in making admissions decisions is hotly contested. Many colleges, including Harvard University, say a diverse student body is part of the educational mission of a school. A lawsuit accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian-American applicants by holding them to a higher standard is awaiting a judge’s ruling. Lawsuits charging unfair admission practices have also been filed against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California system.

Discrimination

James Conroy, director of college counseling at New Trier High School, which serves several affluent and mostly white communities north of Chicago, said the focus on diversity by elite colleges is already high and the adversity score would magnify that.

My emails are inundated with admissions officers who want to talk to our diversity kids,” Mr. Conroy said. “Do I feel minority students have been discriminated against? Yes, I do. But I see the reversal of it happening right now.”

Somehow it constitutes discrimination to refuse admission to a kid who can barely read or write because of adversity, but it is not discrimination to hold Asian-American applicants to a higher standard.

Interactive Graphic

In a November 26 adversity score update, the Wall Street Journal asks What Happens if SAT Scores Consider Adversity?

The article has a nice "Find Your School" interactive graph.​

I went to Danville, Schlarman, a private Catholic school. It was not in the interactive list. The above graphic shows the public school. I am positive Schlarman would score higher.

Otherwise, please note that an SAT score of 880 in Danville is is really 997. Yet, that is still well below the median 1055.

Danville seems hopeless.

Obvious Solution

The obvious solution to reverse discrimination must be ‘Free College for All’ .

But why stop there?

Undoubtedly, there will still be grade differences. People who cannot read or write or do basic math are not likely to get good grades.

But we can fix that too. And it's already underway.

Inclusive Grading

Please note Columbia University Promotes Letting Students Grade Themselves.

Honor System

Nothing can possibly go wrong with this because it is on the honor system.

What About Teachers?

I am glad you asked.

Students can evaluate themselves accurately, but teachers believe students cannot evaluate teachers properly.

Please note Students Say They Prefer White Male Professors: We Cannot Allow That, Can We?

Ironically, we are supposed to believe students will display bias when grading teachers but the students will have absolutely no bias when grading themselves.

Adversity Scores for Teachers

We need "adversity scores" for teachers too as they are clearly discriminated against.

Wait a second. forget about all this stuff.

The solution is much simpler. Show up and get an "A".

Exams Superfluous

Guaranteed Good Grades

Guaranteed good grades for students and teachers alike coupled with "free" education for all will fix everything.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (66)
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

"Guaranteed good grades coupled with "free" education for all will fix everything."

...

When will the Insanity end?

Anyone recall The Broder Plan?

A few years ago David Broder floated the idea of going to war with Iran as means of a jobs (and dying) plan for young Americans.

No. 1-25
Carl_R
Carl_R

There is an obvious solution to this, and it comes from the past. My father went to the University of Nebraska, many years ago. Back then, the State of Nebraska guaranteed automatic admission to the University to anyone who wanted to go (I doubt if this is still the case), so long as they met one of three requirements:

  1. They were a resident of Nebraska and had a high school diploma
  2. They were a resident of Nebraska and passed a high school equivalency test
  3. One of their parents had gone to the university, and they had a high school diploma or equivalency test.

On the first day of class, they had a mass assembly, and my father was advised "Take a good look at the person to your left, and the person to your right. By the end of the year, one of those people will be gone. Fully 50% of this class can expect to not make it to your Sophomore year. You have been guaranteed admission, but that is no guarantee that you will survive the academic requirements, of which there will be many."

Yep, that's the answer. Let everyone in, then kill grade inflation, and flunk half of them out. Everyone gets their one chance. No one can say they were discriminated against. Everyone has the opportunity to prove that they can do the work, and that they can earn a diploma.

Adopt this plan, and lo and behold, the party attitude will vanish, the students will learn more, and the end quality of graduates will be higher, and yes, absolutely, the final group who do graduate will include some who would never have been admitted based on current admission methods.

SMF
SMF

True story:

Our 3 children had the same 5th grade teacher. He would 'punish' the kids who didn't do homework by keeping them from recess.

School intervened at told them that they could no longer do that.

The result:

A LOT of missing homework since.

There is a lesson someplace there, I just know it...

hmk
hmk

In Detroit the high school graduation rate was 20% or less, but miraculously it went up to 80-90%. Nothing to see there everything has to be on the up and up. Then the local university in Detroit, a well regarded college academically, allowed anyone in the city who could graduate free tuition. Unfortunately they discontinued that program because of dismal matriculation rates. Now they reintroduced the program so we'll see what happens.

Curious-Cat
Curious-Cat

Hmmmmm... for all of those who think China does nothing right... the Gaokao is a Chinese nationwide test for college admissions. The National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), commonly known as Gaokao (高考; gāokǎo; 'High[er Education] Exam'), is an academic examination held annually in the People's Republic of China. This standardized test is a prerequisite for entrance into almost all higher education institutions at the undergraduate level.

So I have a question. Who will have a better chance of succeeding - a culture that is overwhelmed with "fairness in education" concerns or a culture that seeks to educate its best and brightest. I wouldn't like to live in China for many reasons, but in this case they seem to have a superior system.

Bam_Man
Bam_Man

According to a newspaper article that I think showed up on Denninger's website, the Senior-class Valedictorian of an inner-city Baltimore high school was having so much trouble with algebra in her first year of college that she needed a tutor. This is the class Valedictorian.

Heck, I didn't even take algebra in college. They assumed you already knew it. I had to take multi-variable calculus as a freshman.

Webej
Webej

This is what is known as I N F L A T I O N.

It doesn't just affect money. People now need credentials and get prizes for doing what people used to think of as just being competent and responsible, quietly taking care of things at hand. And here we are, thinking everybody is highly intelligent and educated when it means jack, college is the new 6 years of elementary school 100 years ago when spending a few years at school was a privilege which just might earn you a chance of staying a few years extra.

As for racism, this is the height. Judging how much adversity any individual has to deal with is impossible, but now we're going to do it on the basis of skin pigmentation. The tiger moms will really have to crack the whip if those kids are to have any chance, but of course having a tiger mom does not add to your adversity score. And we've also seen the last black people with an academic qualification who will not be suspect of being grossly incompetent in everything but fast sun-tanning, instead of someone who has surmounted the odds and persevered.

silvermitt
silvermitt

The dumbing down in grade school levels is ridiculous. What makes it worse, is that the bad eggs who consistently cause trouble, are now not allowed to be expelled. So they create chaos in the classroom, and interrupt any sort of lessons that the capable kids should have learned. I remember a time when these brats were expelled and told try to behave better next year. I also remember when you got the deserved F grade, and to improve it, you relearned quickly or got some sort of tutoring. Now, they push you on to the next grade, despite the kid knowing nothing, and feeling that's ok cause they weren't taught about repercussions. The shock is evident when they gotta get out in the real world and get fired for stupid actions/decisions. "No one ever taught me that" is the mantra. No s**t, if anyone tried, they were reprimanded for hurting your feelings. Gah! I fear the future of the US.

magoomba
magoomba

I am grateful that AI is finally here to take things over, It's just in the nick of time.

Porschephile
Porschephile

Of course this is the most ridiculous attempt at affirmative action thus far. The problem is that universities can "print" "free" summa cum laude degrees for everyone. They can't "print" high paying jobs for these folks so ultimately it won't accomplish what they are hoping for. All they will have succeeded in doing is destroying the value of college for determining who is driven and smart, deserving of a good job!! I guess everyone will have to go to grad school and get a Masters or Doctorate to get an entry level job now! LOL! I don't know where all this will end but doubt it's anywhere good. The final move could be outright confiscation of property like has occurred in some countries in Africa.

RonJ
RonJ

I read the other day that Chinese students are FOUR grades ahead of American students in math.

RonJ
RonJ

Daily Caller: "As Colleges Move To Do Away With The SAT In The Name Of Diversity, Detroit High School Valedictorian Struggles With Low-Level Math"

From the story: Seattle public schools in October unveiled a “framework” to inject “math ethnic studies” into all K-12 math classes, teaching “how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color.”

Zardoz
Zardoz

Cheating is rampant in china. Their tests mean nothing.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

This “dumbing down” is actually democracy in action: with rising black and hispanic populations, a true democracy would imply this automatic dumbing down. Let the asians cry: with low asian population (Chinese, Koreans, Japanese etc), no elected officials would care about them

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

The quality of new engineers in my company is abysmal. The upside is older engineers now have more job security.

SpeedyGeezer
SpeedyGeezer

In NYC admission to the top public high schools has long been based upon a test. The applicants with the best grades on the test were admitted in a fully blind process. Our learned mayor and his SJW friends are conspiring to destroy the blind admissions test and replace it with something "progressive". The rationale is that the classes in these top schools does not reflect the racial makeup of the City. Another train wreck in the making.

michiganmoon
michiganmoon

I am an educator and to be honest many teachers are damaging our youth.

I know of a well meaning white liberal teacher that tells students that "ALL" white students have an advantaged privilege over "ALL" black students. What do you think the black kids who struggle as is when they hear This? They don't try harder they just resent the "oppressive system."

I tried to reason with this teacher claiming that the Obama daughter's have political, business, and socioeconomic advantages over my white father who grew up in literal poverty to a single mother in rural Michigan with no political or business connections. He told me I was being ignorant.

killben
killben

"Somehow it constitutes discrimination to refuse admission to a kid who can barely read or write because of adversity, but it is not discrimination to hold Asian-American applicants to a higher standard."

Would someone here know who is responsible (started) for this sort of thinking...

Blurtman
Blurtman

I doubt if anyone could accurately define "Hispanic." And so what does any analysis mean with such floppy inputs? Is Ted Cruz any more a minority than original Latina Nancy Pelosi? Is white guy Marco Rubio, descendant of slave owners, a minority? Elizabeth Warren was slammed for not providing proof of being on a tribal register. Why aren't Indians from south of the border held to such a standard? Why does white Spaniard US senator Bob Menendez pretend to be a minority?

themonosynaptic
themonosynaptic

The good news is that it is well documented that IQ scores are increasing over time (the Flynn effect, which may be leveling off) - on average 3 points per decade.

Simply, this means that old people are stupider than the younger ones (e.g. look at understanding of simple things like climate science and you can see the impact of age based intelligence).

buffteethrblog
buffteethrblog

I am an engineer with a BsC and MsC in Engineering and I cringe every time I see stories about universities using diversity to push na square peg in a round hole. I know in engineering the problem in the African-Amercian community is a cultural one. Math and Science have to be pushed in black households starting at a young age. The said fact is when I was in college almost ALL the black students in engineering were immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean or 1st generation kids of people from Africa or the Caribbean. I am from the Caribbean by the way. Native Black kids from the USA just did not participate in math and science. They were either afraid or just thought it hard so didn't apply themselves. My Alma mat ta tried to shoe horn black kids from the surrounding area into engineering a couple years after I graduated. Guess what happened high dropout rates and the students just struggled. They had to go back to the middle and high schools to strength the kids there in math and science. Math, Science and engineering does NOT care if you are black, white, green or purple. You are not going to solve complex engineering problem with diversity. Bend the tree while it is young as my grandmother says. We need to stop focusing black kids on sports and entertainment and get them interested in science. My wife and I are doing that with our kids.

themonosynaptic
themonosynaptic

Don't punish the kids - it is the parents and grandparents' fault - they can't accept that little Johnny is dumb as a post so insist that the scores be adjusted or that everybody gets a participation prize - the fact that this behavior permeated beyond the self-entitled communities is to be expected.

Anybody who blames the kids for the system their parents and grandparents created for them probably also wants a participation prize ("I'm an American so I deserve free stuff when I'm old, and I also have the right to complain about anybody else getting free stuff!"). This comes in the form of free money (Social Security) and medical coverage (Medicare).

And don't give me any nonsense about "I paid into SS" etc. - the amounts paid in by the average person barely covers 1/4 of what they get out - it is people like me who pay just about all the taxes that cover the whiny slackers.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I think your article is outdated Mish. The college board is abandoning the adversity score.

The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam, said on Tuesday that it would withdraw its much-debated plan to include a so-called adversity score on student test results, saying it had erred in distilling the challenges faced by college applicants to a single number.

The adversity score was made up of the average of two ratings between 1 and 100 — one for the student’s school environment and the other for the student’s neighborhood environment — that indicate the obstacles a student might have overcome, like crime and poverty. The school and neighborhood scores will still be provided to admissions officers, along with other socioeconomic information.

The change was made after a storm of criticism from parents and educators followed the announcement of the plan last spring. Many of them said it falsely suggested that a student’s achievements and challenges could be quantified as the math and verbal scores on the SAT are.

The tool was officially introduced this year and is being used by about 100 to 150 colleges and universities this fall, the College Board said. The company had plans to roll it out more widely next year.

a2plusb2
a2plusb2

I recall many years ago Jesse Jackson badmouthed the concept of "equality of opportunity", and demanded "equality of results".

I think it also worth a mention that Malaysia's 1960s era Communist insurgency was not fueled by the "discriminated against and deprived" population of the country. That identity group, ethnic Malays, majority of the population, had taken control of the nation's systems, and had imposed quotas to bring up the status of the Malays. Instead the communist insurgency was fueled by the newly discriminated identity group, ethnic Chinese, who had done well by merit before Malaysia became independent.

jasonsmithhere
jasonsmithhere

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