The SAT exam, used by a majority of colleges to grant entrance, will be adding an adversity score to the test that will take into account a students socioeconomic background in an effort to help colleges take a more rounded approach in the admissions process.
The new measure, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is aimed at factoring in student hardships that are not reflected in test scores.
There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less [on the SAT] but have accomplished more, David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board said to the Journal. We cant sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.
The adversity score will take into consideration a student's neighborhood, family and school, and then assign the student a number based on those factors.
More specifically, the score will fall on a scale between 1 and 100, with an average score of 50 anything above that would show hardship.
The calculation, which will be sent to colleges but not shared with students, will be based by looking at the crime and poverty rates of a students neighborhood, as well as their parents' income level, according to the Journal.
The College Board, the nonprofit organization that oversees the SAT, has already conducted a test run of the adversity score program at 50 schools, according to the Journal. The program will officially roll out to 150 additional schools by the end of the year, with plans to add more in 2020.
The addition of an adversity score comes amid a national debate on the ethics of college admissions.
In March, several individuals were indicted in a college admission scandal that included the use of a professional SAT test-taker and access to special test accommodations.
Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty to federal charges Monday, admitting that she paid a fixer thousands of dollars to have wrong answers corrected on her daughter's SAT exam, leading to a remarkably improved score from the teen's PSAT performance, prosecutors said.
Georgetown University expelled two students for their involvement in the same college admission scandal.
Safia Samee Ali writes for NBC News, based in Chicago.