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The Environmental Context Dashboard is a new admissions tool that allows colleges to incorporate context into their admissions process in a data-driven, consistent way. The Dashboard includes:

  • SAT Scores in context: Students' SAT scores can be seen within the context of the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile of SAT scores from their high school.
  • Contextual data on the student’s neighborhood and high school: Including typical family income, family structure, educational attainment, housing stability, and crime.
  • Information on the high school: Including AP opportunity at the school (average number of AP Exams taken, average AP score from that HS); percentage of students who meet federal eligibility criteria for free and reduced-price lunch; rurality/urbanicity; and senior class size.

Over the past 3 years, the College Board has piloted the Dashboard with colleges and universities, mostly recently through a research partnership with over 50 colleges. Participants reported that they saw high value in the tool, with over 90% of users saying the Dashboard made it easier to incorporate contextual information and provided a more comprehensive view of the applicant. Participants affirmed that the Dashboard:

  • Provides a new lens for reading applications: “By having more data like the kinds of things presented in the Dashboard, it allowed us to rely less on stereotypes, assumptions, or incomplete data and more on hard facts and statistics.”
  • Allows staff to see SAT scores in context: “In my mind, it is the only responsible way to consider testing in a selective college context. Having standardized contextual information makes me feel much better about requiring standardized testing of our applicants and using the information after students enroll for help in transitioning them.”

Beginning in 2019, we'll expand our research partnership to a wider range of institutions interested in examining how the Dashboard can improve the admissions and scholarship review process.

Access to the Environmental Context Dashboard will be free to partnering institutions. All colleges using the Dashboard must commit to:

  1. Using it in an appropriate and ethical manner within a holistic process to admit and enroll students, and using it only in admissions and scholarship decisions.
  2. Sharing applicant, admissions, enrollment, and outcomes data for research purposes.
  3. Training all staff and readers using the Dashboard in appropriate usage.
  4. Providing feedback via surveys and focus groups to inform use, best practices, and tool enhancements.

Once a college joins the research partnership, the institution will have two options for viewing the Dashboard: via links to individual student dashboards via a secure web interface, or an integrated view within existing CRMs. (Please email us for further information.)

For more information or to join the research partnership, email:
[email protected].