SAT Updates: Environmental Context Dashboard & June Test Forms

I hope that you’re enjoying this wonderful weather and that you and your students have some upcoming time to relax now that the school year and testing cycle are over or almost over. 

Two major developments have flashed across the newswire within the past month.

SAT: The Environmental Context Dashboard

This is slightly old news at this point, but the College Board has released an “Environmental Context Dashboard” – often called the “Adversity Index” in the press – that provides colleges with information about each student’s “socioeconomic advantages or disadvantages” (from Inside Higher Ed article below). Going into this year, about 150 colleges are expected to use the dashboard. The idea is to help place a student’s SAT scores in the context of their educational opportunities. The ACT has no plans to release a corresponding resource.
While this dashboard may at first appear groundbreaking, many colleges have already been using socioeconomic data about students to help inform admissions decisions.  Our clientele has expressed some concern that the dashboard may place them at a disadvantage, but I do not believe this is the case: colleges are already very familiar with the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of our local zip codes, and have been for a long time. 
More information about this resource is needed, but I would not use its presence as a factor in deciding between SAT and ACT.
If you’d like to read more, here is an article on the topic. Please contact me if you have any further questions.

The June SAT: Many Different Test Forms

In an unprecedented move, the College Board administered (it appears) 17 different SAT tests on Saturday, June 1st. Usually, everyone across the country takes the same form of the test, but this time, kids in the same testing room even had different testing forms. 
This move by the College Board will likely have very little impact on individual students; the tests are “equated” such that once each test’s unique scale is applied, all tests are supposed to be of equal difficulty. But, we’ve faced a few questions from anxious students wondering why “my friends said the test was easy, but it seemed hard to me.” 
June is not one of the “released” tests – those occur in March, May, and October – so we won’t get to see this wealth of new testing material anytime soon.  Just be aware that June was a different situation than students have faced before.
Finally, because of the massive amount of test material the SAT has to process, June SAT scores will not be released until July 10th,  a much longer wait than usual.