College Board CEO David Coleman appeared on "America's Newsroom" Wednesday to explain the decision to do away with the "adversity score," which would take into account a student's socio-economic background and the neighborhood they grew up in when scoring their SAT college admissions test.
Co-host Jon Scott asked Coleman if the "adversity score" sought to equalize the playing field between rich and poor students, and Coleman said no test score could ever fix the natural inequity of society.
"No test can equalize what is unequal in our society. Those forces are strong," he replied. "Here’s what we can do... if you come from a rural school or a small neighborhood that's unknown to the admissions office, they'll equally have information about it as if you came from somewhere they knew."
"We're trying to respond to these forces but... the forces of inequality a very strong and they'll be reflected in students' achievements," Coleman added. "And we all have to be careful to be thoughtful about that."
He also said the board responded to the will of the public and agreed with the consensus that they shouldn't be in the business of scoring adversity, only merit and achievement.
"We felt that people were right when they said you should not be scoring this," Coleman said earlier in the interview. "I believe that the most important thing a public institution... can do is, listen to the public, listen to our members, and make change[s] when they're right."
Scott asked Coleman how the board prevents unfair advantages for certain students and he said they can only provide young men and women with the tools, and then allow their parents and families to help inspire them the rest of the way.
"I think that all we're trying to do is create a fair measure of achievement and give the tools of practice for free — but the real work lies in families and homes to motivate kids to then practice and do their best," Coleman said.
"A kid who grows up in a rural school where there may not be as many advanced placement courses should not be held accountable because they didn’t take so many [advanced placement courses], because they weren’t even there," he said. "So, all we can do is share general background information that’s fair and give every student... their best chance to achieve."