College Board to Implement Landscape Program

by Sydney Henry ‘20

College board will soon be implementing a new resource called Landscape to provide consistent data and information to help colleges understand an applicant’s accomplishments in the context of the opportunities available to them. This program comes in as a replacement for the prior proposed “Adversity Score.”

The adversity score was designed on a scale of one to 100, connected to a student’s SAT results, made up of two factors: the student’s school environment and their neighborhood environment. The score would have been used to indicate obstacles a student might have overcome, such as high crime rates or poverty. The score was highly criticized when it was announced last spring, with many critics saying that a single score could not capture a student’s entire story, and that it seemed as though College Board was trying to “rate” adversity. 

In hopes of providing important supplemental information for reading applications, the College Board withdrew the Adversity Score and replaced it with Landscape. Although it eliminated the single hardship score, Landscape still reports socio-economic information to admissions officers. In the announcement about this new resource, College Board states that “Landscape [makes ] it easier to incorporate contextual information about students and [provide] a more comprehensive view of the applicant.” The College Board has also reduced the number of factors that are considered as part of the school or neighborhood score, and will list the remaining factors on the reports.

Parents and students will be given access to these reports along with college admissions officers.