Despite aims to help students, public opinion is mixed on the College Board’s new changes: an adversity score, earlier registration deadlines, and the AP Classroom. Changes will be enforced for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Adversity Score was meant to indicate the socio-economic background of SAT test-takers, giving insight to college admissions officers. It involved factors from the students’ neighborhood, such as free and reduced lunch qualification rate, crime level, and average education level received.
Many students face hardships, and some feel this should be taken into account.
“One of the things that can be measured is what is the adversity in your life that you have been able to overcome and still become a successful person. I think that it is good for colleges to be able to get the clearest picture of who a student is,” said social studies teacher Teak Bassett.
Others worry that trying to rate adversity could negatively impact other students who face unseen problems.
“Although it comes from a good place, how do you score the trials of someone’s life? Obviously, there are challenges that can be seen upfront, but it completely excludes internal challenges that a majority of teens go through,” said junior Asma Tariq.“Depression and anxiety are things that don’t discriminate and can be debilitating to a lot of students, but the adversity scale doesn’t account for any of that. The thought of ranking people’s struggles in life makes me uneasy.” Though it would never directly affect SAT scores, the College Board dropped the Adversity Score before it took effect due to public outcry. Instead, the College Board launched a tool named LANDSCAPE which provides similar information to colleges, aiming to help students.
Similarly, the College Board aims to help students by shifting registration deadlines, stating that “Fall exam registration improves students’ chances of success”. In previous years, AP exam registration remained open late into the school year. The new deadline is Nov. 15 for fall courses and March 13 for spring courses.
Some teachers feel the deadline will motivate students to take the test as the College Board hoped.
“I don’t know if they’re going to have more kids sign up, or if they’ll make more money,
but I want my students to take the test, regardless of what their grades are,” said Bassett. “If the end-all of this is that more students take the test, then I think that’s a good thing.”
Increasing test participation could help students save thousands by earning college credits while still in high school for the cost of only the test fee.
However, this new deadline comes with its downfalls. Late registration or cancellation incurs a $40 fee to the $94 test. Some feel that this fee is excessive, considering students may not have decided to take the test yet. Consequently. they may feel pressured into registering precautiously.
“It’s really unfair because they are trying to make you lock in and take the test, and people who are financially unstable by the time of the test are paying so much money,” said junior Tasnim Ullah. “It’s forcing people to commit to the test when they don’t really want to.”
Additionally, the College Board introduced its AP Classroom to provide additional resources to teachers and students. The new program’s aims are to “help students tackle the content and skills they’ll need,” according to the College Board.
While some teachers don’t plan on utilizing the program, others praise the resources provided, such as practice tests.
“As many practice tests as they take, the more successful they will be,” said Bassett.
The College Board continually alters its policies with the hopes of benefiting students, though students, teachers, and schools alike never seem to agree on the true merit of new policies.