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Monday, November 11, 2013

How UVa Looks at Test Scores (or When Super Scoring isn't Exactly Super Scoring)

I wrote a very long post in early October about the timing of SAT score reporting. At the end, I promised to talk about SAT super scoring at UVa.

Just to recap, that earlier post covered three topics:
  1.  How we receive your SAT scores. This includes to answer to the common question about whether we will "accept" scores.
  2. The timing of SAT score reporting. More students than ever are waiting until the last minute to send scores and that's not good!
  3. What happens if you send scores after deadlines. This is probably the most common testing question we get.
So now I need to talk about how we look at the scores when we open an admission file. Let's define super scoring first. Generally, super scoring the SAT means the best section scores from multiple sittings are used to create a new composite score.

At UVa, we look at each section of the SAT. We don't talk about totals too much. If someone asked me for the score of the applicant in front of me, I would say three, three digit numbers. I would not cite a total. This isn't how all admission offices work, so check with your other schools about practices if you are curious.

Our application system pulls the best score from each section if a student has taken a test multiple times. We do not create new totals. That's why this isn't exactly super scoring. Here are rough examples (as in, I've made these up) for both the SAT and ACT:

This is not exact. I have made edits.

See how there are a mix of test dates shown? The dates honestly don't factor into our review. When I read, I'm looking at the two or three digit scores. I don't see how many times an applicant took the tests and I don't see all of their scores. The application system shows me the right mix of scores to get the best possible combination.

This is why we always tell students to just send their scores without delay. Use the free score reports knowing that our computer system is only going to show us the best ones when we open your file.

 What questions do you have about super scoring and how we look at testing when we read?

*Again, those scores weren't lifted directly out of a student's file.*