What it does do is outsource components of admissions decisions the colleges may want to distance themselves from and wrap it up in an opaque package so that they're not actually considering anything legally risky in their admissions decisions. This is potentially valuable to institutions that want to have affirmative action style admissions without risking the ire of state legislators.
If they think they can boil my kids into a single number without bothering to find the context of who my kids are then I will game it to as much as possible.
I don’t know why my family should be punished because my wife and I worked our asses off to get ahead. It’s an insult to hard working people across the spectrum.
I don’t know why I should be punished because my parents didn’t succeed financially. I work hard in highschool but don’t have extra private tutoring or parents who can help me with calculus homework. I’m hard working and bright but how can I compete with kids from Saratoga High School where everyone’s parents went to MIT/Penn and work at Apple/Google? I read library books and watch Khan Academy, but no one in my family ever went to college. Why does my parents’ achievement have a fundamental impact on my opportunities?
Somehow we have to aim for equality of opportunity. It’s difficult to achieve but can’t we agree on this as a goal? Opportunity should not be inherited. My kids are as good as yours, as the next person’s, independent of how hard we worked.
 hyperbole. Saratoga parents from UCLA/CMU who work at Netflix/NVIDIA I’m talking about you too.
We can't control your upbringing or the opportunities your parents give you completely though. People think the material opportunities given by parents is not fair, but think that the emotional or social opportunities of parents is. If my parents were emotionally abusive, but I grew up rich, should they rig the SAT to show that? How would they even measure that?
In a perfect world outcomes would only be determined by genetics, and the environmental factors would not play into life at all. We don't live in that world, and it would be impossible to replicate it. There are too many variables to be able to measure who deserves what beyond a merit based system.
Look at it another way, would it be fair for a high school/ college sport to artificially raise and lower rankings based on upbringing or environment? Should players with significant coaching be lowered in the rankings, and poor players be raised? I don't think so.
Because they are your parents and they will have an impact on your life whether you like it or not, right down from the genes you inherit to the kind of people you hang out with. So yes there achievement will have an impact on your opportunities.
What you want can only happen when parents are no longer associated with their children in any way and all children are raised by the State so that everyone can be provided "equal opportunities" and even then the type of genes you inherit will impact your opportunities because although social inequality has been removed, biological inequalities can never be removed.
So no your children or not equal to anybody else's children and yes what you do in life will have an impact on your children's life that's how life works.
I am not the person you were replying to, but no.
However, the person who wins should be the more qualified person based on merit not based on some standard of suffering. Just because you had a harder environment does not mean you are more qualified than someone with an easier environment.
It would be trivial to improve our tests of merit compared to the almost impossible task of testing how well a student would do free from environmental factors.
This has never been the case and will never be the case as long as some people are rich and other are poor. A "standard of suffering" tries to show that. Maybe it's a bad idea, but the current system is extremely bad, so people who dismiss this better come up with a better alternative.
Philip K dick also had a short story called Progeny with a similar theme, but here exploring it from the perspective of psychology.
This is one of the weariest types of hyperbolic strawmanning typically employed in discussions of unequal backgrounds, opportunities, etc.
Literally nobody wishes for this imaginary future you're presenting. Not the comment you're responding to, likely not even the staunchest of activists against social injustice.
The question is, do we see children with potential not being able to utilize it because of happenstance, as a problem? Is it fair that a child from a better-off family is more likely to enter better academic institutions regardless of their merit? Should we not help disadvantaged kids?
Of course you can throw your arms up into the air and say "life isn't fair", and hold people responsible for the situation they were born into - but right now we're having this discussion, and we can make decisions and change these things. What if there's a better way?
(PS: Standardized Adveristy Scores don't exactly sound like the better way though.)
At the point of admission, the merits of our two imaginary college kids are not same, even if they started out "the same". The current system, that only looks at objective test scores, is actually blind to anything but merit.
You seem to be making the same strawman mistake you described: No one claims that rich kids can buy their way into elite schools, but rather that they can buy better education along the way.
Offer free additional after-school programs, etc in high school to solve the problem. You don't make a slow runner faster by moving the finish line closer for him/her.
We should maintain some real alternate paths for kids for whom this timing is bad.
I grew up on on welfare and left school at 15. Was smart but troubled. Worked dumb jobs for a while. Benefitted from enlightened admissions policy and eventually graduated from $VERYGOODSCHOOL. I worked hard and did just fine. My kids are privileged and my late career is fun and rewarding. I want to do all I can to pass on these opportunities to the next generation of kids like me.
Play with the cards you were dealt.
In my stance, your kids can get ahead on their own merit.
I don’t know how to achieve this perfectly, but it’s an aspiration.
If everybody wants to go to Harvard then why can't they expand the school and accept more students?
Because the same brand of metrics trolls who are screwing this up have also screwed up in the school rankings by making schools rank better if they reject more applicants, so now the schools optimize for that.
Well, you can only physically expand a single school so far, but I get what you mean. I think the bigger problem is this concept of “elite universities” and this sort of credential signaling that seems to matter so much. Honestly, I can’t tell how much it really does matter. I went to Valdosta State University (never heard of it? Nope, neither has anybody else), but have worked with Harvard and MIT grads who respected my opinion and treated me as an equal. My 15 year old son, who I’ve never really pushed too hard to worry about getting into a “good” college worries about it anyway, because everybody he knows is worrying about it. He says things like, “If I don’t do well on this test, I’m going to end up going to Texas Tech” and I think, “Hell, Texas Tech is better than where I went to college, and I’m doing fine… should I tell him not to worry so much or encourage him to shoot for the top-ranked colleges?”
In any case, I don't think you should have to graduate from a prestigious college to find work that helps you live a good life. Maybe this involves making a place like Harvard accept more students, or maybe it involves improving the quality and our perceptions of middle and lower-tier universities. I don't know.
Colleges are gatekeeper institutions that want to identify the worst off person that's still likely to have high success so that they can talk about how great their programs and commitment to diversity are while still mostly admitting wealthy folks and raking in money for their foundations and endowments. And so that they can point to those successes as proof that they're serving a social interest by anecdote, regardless of what the actual numbers on social mobility say.
It's really at level very removed from what you bring up. It's not that you're being punished because your parents are not part of the oligarch class. Rather, the oligarch class wants higher education to be a system that primarily benefits themselves while making it palatable by marketing the whole thing as a societal benefit.
Some colleges have become attuned to the fact that people caught on to this, which is why some elite institutions advertise that they're "need blind," a phrase which is more marketing than reality. They know that they can admit many middle class people and have them turn down "affordable" packages that are actually very draining for financially responsible families. And they know that they can calibrate their admissions to get exactly the amount and quality of disadvantaged students they want to mix with their legacy and elite admits, which will leave the majority of admits upper class and elite ("need blind" might as well be a synonym for "oligarchs are meritorious").
This is the game because elites have succeeded in twisting the system to benefit them. And the game now is to convince the public at large is that they should keep a system created for the oligarchy in place while putting lipstick on it.
If you want to shatter this state of affairs, the #1 thing you can do is start treating elite institutions and their graduates with the social stigma they deserve.
It's also worth keeping in mind that a significant reason this happens is because of admissions decisions revolving around institutional interests rather than societal interests, which means putting admit decisions in the hands of a body that does not represent the institution(s) in question could also be another route towards addressing what you bring up.
We are probably hundreds of years away from solving all other factors besides genetics, which have an influence on SAT (or whatever equivalent other countries have), so this doesn't seem like a huge problem right now.
We can talk about genetics again when we've fixed everything else.
1. remote_phone cares deeply about his children
2. in life there are many unjust and immoral systems, and that it's okay to subvert them
And that's why thet won't reveal the detailed factors, the time windows over which they are evaluated, and their weighting.
> If they think they can boil my kids into a single number without bothering to find the context of who my kids are then I will game it to as much as possible.
They don't. In fact, that seems to be exactly the problem this addresses, since with this the SAT would no longer be boiling kids into a single number, and it would be incorporating more context than the status quo.
"The rating will not affect students’ test scores, and will be reported only to college admissions officials as part of a larger package of data on each test taker."
Do what you want, but it doesn't seem like this will be any different from writing about adversity in an application essay. Schools can choose how much they want to weigh the score.
Privileged people need to start recognizing their inherent pre-rigging of the system.
For those in power, equality feels like oppression.
I’ve worked my ass off for nearly 30 years, as has my wife. We are both smart and very hard working and it paid off. My roots are middle class at best. My parents are immigrants and were extremely poor as children but they also worked hard and went from poverty to middle class.
I’m teaching my children to work hard and be good people and contribute to this world.
How pray tell am I benefiting from “pre-rigging”? I’ve made solid decisions throughout my life and sacrificed to be where I am today.
Now I’m being told that my children will be at a disadvantage for college because my wife and I worked hard our entire careers and succeeded. That’s hogwash. Absolute hogwash and I’m furious.
Can you please edit personal slights like that out of your comments to HN? They break the site guidelines and undermine your case.
While I agree that people that had less than ideal childhoods should be given more opportunities to succeed, it shouldn’t be at the expense of those who worked their ass off for their kids, only to see their hard work taken away by government laws.
My own parents and grandparents came from shitty roots. Russia, concentration camp, Brazil, then to the US. My parents worked hard and I had better opportunities because of that.
What if government took that reward away from them? Well, surprise surprise, it did (just in another country in another era).
_you_ have a choice too: either to take the hand that’s dealt you and move forward, or complain about how others had it better because of their parents, or their own actions.
I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life due to circumstances as well as choices I made. I don’t blame other people for what happened to me (but I will blame government services being complete shit, especially towards veterans).
This isn’t a perfect world, so don’t complain what others get that you don’t have. Work towards making the world better instead, without destroying what others have worked hard for in the meantime.
Parents who care is the single greatest privilege a child may get.
And by the logic of “those who worked harder deserve it more”, well I think you see where this is going.
If anything this adversity score IS making things more fair because it’s providing light to the extra challenges someone might have had and thus who indeed worked harder at it.
The test claims to be measuring a students ability to learn in the first place, not just their current knowledge, so why not aim to make that more accurate instead of bypassing it?
The subject area is the SAT, a test, which is imperfect like all tests, with research which indicates that it's actually problematic for such a diverse country like the USA. So a test like the SAT, which boils down to a single number. Yes that's the subject.
And now they're making the results 2 numbers. The test and some, well known summary of information about the student.
And THIS, THIS is the bridge too far?
Honestly, do you even hear yourself? What should a third party think about your words? Perhaps you could help me and provide a back story of how you've been in opposition to the SAT for a long time, and how this just reinforces a flawed test.
But nope, it sure does seem like you're focusing in on how this test might provide opportunities to black and brown people.
But I'm sure that's not that, because it's hackernews, and we are so polite to each other and reasonable.
So, tell me again why the SAT is good, but SAT + adversity score is bad?
They can use that privilege to spread their applications around to increase their opportunities.
For example, school admissions. We can provide more funding for underperforming schools, but that is also less funding going towards better performing schools. At a certain point you will have to accept that to help the poor it will mean cutting off certain benefits for more well-off. Then the discussion becomes around how much resources should be shifted around.
What I’m not okay with is adjusting scores and denying opportunity because of economic class warfare.
Those that have more resources have historically spent significant amounts of those resources to ensure that they pay in as little of them to anyone else as possible.
Tall poppy syndrome. Destroying things does not create things. You can drop a nuclear bomb on silicon valley and punish lots of privilege. It's not going to achieve any notion of equality.
Could you do the same in the reverse situation?
Hating the rich is hate.
If you really loved the poor you would think how to help them lift themselves up. Holding down the top both doesn’t work and is deeply unethical.
College board should provide free tutoring and review classes based of their adversity score instead.
I can’t image this scheme
won’t be challenged in courts. Especially the keeping secret the score, imagine if your credit score was kept secret and this will effect their lives more than credit score.
As I have said in other comments, next we need an Unattractiveness Score as we know physical traits have high correlation and causation to success and wealth, clearly a privilege and creating inequality.
Tax credits for the ugly. Mandatory minor face disfigurement for the overly beautiful or handsome.
Very scary developments. America is under true threat to its future with this politics.
The comment I was replying to was pretty absurd wording of punishments.
Anyway it’s always a little hard to know exactly how to interpret the guidelines as there is quite a bit of subjectivity.
I do apologize.
I know! Let's give them a bit of advantage in getting an education.
This is a classic Kafka-trap, and I see this rhetorical payload delivered more and more these days.
"If you have a problem with changing the status quo, then you're in power and thus deserve to have the status quo changed on you."
"If you have a problem with changing the status quo, in a situation where the change would make you lose something, take extra time to examine whether it was justified for the status quo to give you that thing in the first place."
Which is good advice.
Many times it is harder to see what is currently going on; so, if you want a more blatant current example, right now, the system is keeping undocumented immigrants poor and uneducated on purpose.
The system doesn't have motives. Individual behavior can give rise to systemic oppression with no top level design goals needed.
If we take a look at Black people specifically:
Black sounding last names are half as likely to receive callbacks for job interviews. Black people are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and receive longer sentences for committing the same crimes as White people. It's harder for Black people to find housing. Its even harder for them to rent vacation properties.
Black children even receive harsher punishments for the same infractions in elementary school.
All of these things put together mean that yes, they are systemically oppressed, and the system is currently keeping them poorer and less educated. Exceptional individuals will overcome this oppression, but reinforcing feedback loops ensure that if something isn't done to break the cycle, it will continue, and as a class Black people will always be at a disadvantage.
Just to offer some general commentary, I think this mentality is probably the root of most of our social ills: people see everything as a "race" and they work hard to "get ahead", and they therefore get angry at policies that attempt to even the playing field because it might help others "catch up".
This might be true for college admissions too, if you're flush with opportunities you're still ahead if you lose one.
But there's still an aspect of "pulling people back". It's a hard tradeoff to design. But if you do it right you really can make something with better outcomes and more fairness, even if some will call it an abomination.
Again, the problem is you are viewing the world through a certain lens, where people are "ahead" or "behind".
Couple this with the lack of class mobility and sometimes people feel participating in that race was the only way to control your future.
There's a related tactic for people in affluent suburbs, for getting their child into urban school districts with an especially well-regarded primary public school: buy a house or condo in the city, and try to make it look on your application like that's your primary residence.
Why are nice neighborhoods more expensive than bad ones? Why are good school districts more competitive than bad ones? Why do parents go to great lengths to get their kids better opportunity?
There will always be motivation to find the best ways to "play the system".
Also, what actually shows if someone is a good student or not?
A student with lower adversity could still have immense pressure if their family has sunk so much investment into their success.
For example, there are Asian parents I knew that had their kids regimentally studying for the SAT since age 12 like they were practicing to become professional athletes. Their parents left their entire lives behind to come to America and work their way up for the sake of their kids getting into a good college then getting a good job.
Fancy private school in expensive neighborhood registers their official address in a poor neighborhood, and calls the school in the 'nice' neighborhood a "satellite campus".