College Board President Behind “Adversity Score” Also Behind “Common Core”

David Coleman, the man behind the controversial Common Core curriculum, is also behind the recent “adversity score” for college applicants, according to new reports.

Coleman, who is now the president of the College Board, now faces criticism from those who allege the recent move is little more than a means to defend low SAT scores.

In a statement on Thursday, Coleman defended the decision, and said “No single test score should ever be examined without paying attention” to various socio-economic issues among college applicants.

From Fox News:

The College Board president behind the recent decision to assign applicants an “adversity score” is the same man who courted controversy pushing Common Core, the national K-12 curriculum standards project that several states adopted, then dropped under pressure from education activists.

David Coleman, the architect of Common Core and current president and chief executive of the College Board, has a controversial history with standardized tests and higher learning. Critics claim Common Core, which was designed to establish baseline K-12 curriculum standards but was derided as a power grab from local school boards, should be seen as a cautionary tale. They also suspect Coleman’s latest effort, in his current job heading the company behind the SAT test, is an effort to stay relevant amid questions about the fairness of standardized testing.

“Promotion of adversity scores is the latest attempt by the College Board to defend the SAT against increasingly well-documented critiques of the negative consequences of relying on admissions test scores,”  Bob Schaeffer, the public education director at FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, told US News & World Report.

The rollout of a new score, which takes into consideration the social and economic background of every student, has put the spotlight back on Coleman and his work in the education field that dates back decades. In a statement Thursday defending the adversity score, Coleman said it can help identify students whose potential can’t be fully gauged by raw testing data.

“Through its history, the College Board has been focused on finding unseen talent,” Coleman said. “The Environmental Context Dashboard shines a light on students who have demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness to overcome challenges and achieve more with less. It enables colleges to witness the strength of students in a huge swath of America who would otherwise be overlooked.

“There is talent and potential waiting to be discovered in every community – the children of poor rural families, kids navigating the challenges of life in the inner city, and military dependents who face the daily difficulties of low income and frequent deployments as part of their family’s service to our country,” the statement continued. “No single test score should ever be examined without paying attention to this critical context.”

Michael Nietzel, emeritus of Missouri State University, questioned the need of an “adversity score.”

“At a time when standardized testing is under increased scrutiny and is even being discontinued or minimized as an admission tool by hundreds of colleges, one must wonder whether adversity scores are primarily an attempt to protect the SAT’s market or to promote social mobility,” he wrote in an opinion piece for Forbes. “Colleges that are genuinely concerned about the bias built into the tests or the cheating associated with the SAT or the ACT, have a simpler choice: don’t require students to take them.”

Nietzel also believes “there’s not a straight line from socioeconomic background to SAT performance” and adds that “assigning an adversity number suggests an influence that may not be operating for individual students, and it probably overlooks influences that are.”

“The fact that the College Board does not want students to know their adversity scores reflects their own discomfort with the concept,” he said.