Students Taking The SAT Will Soon Get A Socioeconomic Context Score

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Students Taking The SAT Will Soon Get A Socioeconomic Context Score
The group that oversees the SAT plans to roll out a new dashboard to provide more context on students who take the exam.
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The group that oversees the SAT test is in the process of adding a score that represents students' socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The College Board confirmed to Newsy that it'll soon roll out a new metric called the "Environmental Context Dashboard" for people who take the test. Its purpose is to give universities a more well-rounded picture of students' social and economic backgrounds, especially for those who are considered to be at a disadvantage. 

It'll be formulated using multiple factors that relate to neighborhood, family and school environments. It doesn't include race, but it does incorporate data from the census and official crime statistics. 

Here's an example of what the dashboard looks like. Along with the actual SAT score, there's a disadvantage level that's been tallied using indicators like the area's poverty level, median income and free school lunch rate. Students won't have access to the dashboard information. 

It's already been tested out on a pilot group. Fifty schools used the score last year, including Yale, Florida State and the University of Michigan. And so far, it's gotten some positive feedback. Admissions officials said they noticed better admissions outcomes for disadvantaged students. 

The College Board, a nonprofit group that supervises the SAT and other academic initiatives, has long been interested in how certain disparities influence test results and ultimately college admission. Data shows that on average, white students typically score higher on the SAT than black and Hispanic students. 

But the way that a student's race and class are considered during the higher education admissions process isn't a new debate. 

Last year, the Justice Department rolled back some affirmative action guidelines for college admissions. It also backed a lawsuit against Harvard for allegedly discriminating against Asian-Americans in its admissions processes and investigated Yale over similar allegations. 

And news of a recent scandal brought to light allegations of high-profile parents paying large sums of money to fraudulently get their kids into elite schools. 

The College Board says it's committed to delivering opportunity to all students. In a statement to Newsy, CEO David Coleman said, in part, "There is talent and potential waiting to be discovered in every community. ... No single test score should ever be examined without paying attention to this critical context."

There are plans to expand the dashboard to more colleges this fall before a broader rollout in 2020. There won't be a charge for schools to utilize the new score. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN