By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s been dubbed the adversity score, and it’s controversial.

But the College Board, who administer the SATs, says it’s designed to level the playing field in college admissions.

“Not all students have access to tutoring services and means for preparing for these tests, so I guess it’s their way of trying to equal that playing field,” said Connie Pollack, a local educational consultant.

The idea is to provide admissions office with a non-academic score, besides the math and reading SAT academic scores, to measure whether you come from a disadvantaged or privileged background.

The score runs 1 to 100 with 50 as average.

The higher the number the greater the adversity.

Pollack, a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultant’s Association, is skeptical.

“I don’t know how you can choose an arbitrary number to sort of quantify what level of hardship a student might present with,” Pollack told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.

The College Board says there are 15 factors that go into determining the so-called adversity score, things like poverty rate and neighborhood crime.

But they refuse to tell anyone what exactly those 15 factors are.

And while they’ll give the adversity score to the university and the colleges, they will not share it with the students or their parents.

The failure of the College Board to be up-front raises questions to some.

“It makes you feel suspicious,” says Dr. Linda Hippert, a Point Park University professor and former school superintendent.

Hippert says colleges already have ways to diversify their student body

“You could be a 4.0 student with a perfect SAT score and not get in to one of the top universities because I think they are looking for diversity,” noted Hippert.

“And this is a measure (the adversity score) that they may use for that, but is it fair?”

“I think that is really a question that is out there.”