Jargon

What’s The Difference Between Score Choice and Superscoring

Chance

Here’s the deal with Score Choice and Superscoring:

Score Choice (per the College Board’s explanation) is a feature that’s offered to students to alleviate the stress of “test day.” The thinking is that “choice” will ratchet down the stress because the student is allowed to choose whether to send to colleges that day’s scores.

If a test taker bombs, he or she can wipe the slate clean, more or less (the scores exist in the College Board’s database) and try again. The catch is that some schools (Yale, Cornell, and Georgetown to name a few) have a non-Score Choice policy and require that all test scores be sent with the application. The College Board lists schools that require all scores be sent, but students opting for Score Choice are advised to confirm this on the websites of the schools they are applying to because school sites will have the most up to date information.

Superscoring is what the colleges do with your Score Choice–to position themselves in the college rankings.  You submit scores from test dates of your choosing, and the schools cherry pick your best score from each section, creating a “superscore.” Say you take the SAT three times and submit all three sets of scores. The college will extract your best Math, Writing, and Reading scores from the three tests and combine them into one superscore. Colleges do see all submitted scores, of course, but it’s as much in their interest as yours to use your best scores because superscoring raises the college’s average SAT scores.

Score Choice:

*Score Choice is optional and must be proactively chosen by the student.

*All scores from an entire SAT test are sent. Individual sections from different tests cannot be selected for sending.

*Colleges will receive your SAT essay if you choose to send them your SAT scores.

*Colleges set their own policy regarding scores, but the College Board will not release scores without student consent.

*Score policies are listed on the College Board website but should be confirmed with schools for accuracy. Policies change.

*Most schools allow Score Choice, however some don’t, including: Yale, Cornell, Georgetown, George Washington, and Tufts.

*For more info: www.collegeboard.com/scorechoice

Superscoring:

*Admissions officials see all scores submitted and expect to see score variation.

*Most schools Superscore (i.e., use the highest score per section from different SATs to come up with one “Superscore” for a student).

*Colleges benefit by Superscoring (by doing so, they more favorably position themselves in college rankings).

 

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Everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about the SAT: The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT.

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Illustrations by Jennifer Orkin Lewis 

Posted 1 year ago
  • Akil Bello

    Also the proactive nature required for score choice often makes it hard to do for kids who haven’t finished testing far in advance of application deadlines. if you’re taking your last SAT in oct of the senior year, you cant really score choice it if your application is due in nov

    • http://www.perfectscoreproject.com Debbie Stier

      Good point. Also, you can’t use the “3 free score reports” offered by CB if you want to “Score Choice” because you have to make that decision / click button when you sign up for the SAT (ie agree to send your scores to colleges BEFORE you’ve taken the test and seen the scores). Who would do that?

      • Akil Bello

        its like college board intentionally set up Score Choice so that there was minimal benefit to students while allowing them to claim they that they had the same product/service that their primary competitor does. things like this constantly force me to choose between calling college board blind to students needs/wants and calling them an intentionally evil marketing machine defending their product at all costs.

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