How the SAT is scored

The SAT is the most widely used college admission test, the first step toward higher education for students of all background. The SAT tests you r reading, writing and math skills you ;earn in school. It gives both you and colleges you are applying to a sense of how you will be able to apply, writing and study skills required for college course work.
The SAT also provides the opportunity for you to connect to scholarship opportunities, place out a certain college course and learn more about your academic strengths. In a way, the SAT is the bridge between the hard work you have already done and the college that is the best fit for you and your future.

How the test is scored

1) The Raw Score

Your raw scores are calculated for each section based on the number of questions you got correct or incorrect, or that you omitted (did not answer).

Right Answers
Wrong Answer
Omitted
plus 1 point for questions you get correst minus 1/4 point subtracted for incorrect multiple-choice

0 points subtracted for incorrect student-produced response (math section)

Zero points subtracted for questions you did not answer

Your essay is scored as so:

Each essay is independently scored by two readers on a scale from one to six. These readers’ score combined to make the two to twelve scale. The essay readers are experienced and trained high school and college teachers. If the two readers’ score differ by more than one point (a rare situation), a third reader scores the essay.

The Scoring guide:
A perfect score is an essay that demonstrates clear and consistent mastery, although it may have a few minor errors.
Score of 6
A typical essay:
• Effectively and insight-fully develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates outstanding critical thinking, using clearly appropriate examples, reasons and other evidence to support its position
• Is well organized and clearly focused, demonstrating clear coherence and smooth progression of ideas
• Exhibits skillful use of language, using a varied, accurate and apt vocabulary
• Demonstrates meaningful variety in sentence structure
• Is free of most errors in grammar, usage and mechanics
A 5 essay demonstrates reasonably consistent mastery, although it has occasional errors or lapses in quality.
A typical essay:
• Effectively develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates strong critical thinking, generally using appropriate examples, reasons and other evidence to support its position
• Is well organized and focused, demonstrating coherence and progression of ideas
• Exhibits facility in the use of language, using appropriate vocabulary
• Demonstrates variety in sentence structure
• Is generally free of most errors in grammar, usage and mechanics

A 4 essay demonstrates adequate mastery, although it has lapses in quality.
A typical essay:
• Develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates competent critical thinking, using adequate examples, reasons and other evidence to support its position
• Is generally organized and focused, demonstrating some coherence and progression of ideas
• Exhibits adequate but inconsistent facility in the use of language, using generally appropriate vocabulary
• Demonstrates some variety in sentence structure
• Has some errors in grammar, usage and mechanics

A 3 essay demonstrates developing mastery, and is marked by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:
• Develops a point of view on the issue, demonstrating some critical thinking, but may do so inconsistently or use inadequate examples, reasons or other evidence to support its position
• Is limited in its organization or focus, or may demonstrate some lapses in coherence or progression of ideas
• Displays developing facility in the use of language, but sometimes uses weak vocabulary or inappropriate word choice
• Lacks variety or demonstrates problems in sentence structure
• Contains an accumulation of errors in grammar, usage and mechanics

A 2 essay demonstrates little mastery, and is flawed by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:
• Develops a point of view on the issue that is vague or seriously limited, and demonstrates weak critical thinking, providing inappropriate or insufficient examples, reasons or other evidence to support its position
• Is poorly organized and/or focused, or demonstrates serious problems with coherence or progression of ideas
• Displays very little facility in the use of language, using very limited vocabulary or incorrect word choice
• Demonstrates frequent problems in sentence structure
• Contains errors in grammar, usage and mechanics so serious that meaning is somewhat obscured
An essay in this category demonstrates very little or no mastery, and is severely flawed by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:
• Develops no viable point of view on the issue, or provides little or no evidence to support its position
• Is disorganized or unfocused, resulting in a disjointed or incoherent essay
• Displays fundamental errors in vocabulary
• Demonstrates severe flaws in sentence structure
• Contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage or mechanics that persistently interfere with meaning

Essays not written on the essay assignment will receive a score of zero

2) “Equate”
We do a statistical analysis to make sure the test is an accurate representation of your skills. The unscored section of the test also helps us ensure the test is fair. Questions in the unscored section are not factored into your SAT score.

In our statistical analysis, equating adjusts for slight differences in difficulty between test editions and ensures that a student’s score of, say, 450 on one edition of a test reflects the same ability as a score of 450 on another edition of the test. Equating also ensures that a student’s score does not depend on how well others did on the same edition of the test.

Every SAT includes a 25-minute section, which doesn’t count toward your final score. It may be a critical reading, mathematics, or multiple-choice writing section.

We do this because it helps us assess questions for next year’s test, and it ensures that the SAT accurately reflects your skills. Also, the unscored section helps us account for minor differences in difficulty across all the different forms of the test.

3) Final Score
Your raw score is then converted to a scaled score (reported on a 200-800 scale) by a statistical process called equating. Equating ensures that the different forms of the test or the level of ability of the students with whom you are tested do not affect your score. Equating makes it possible to make comparisons among test takers who take different editions of the test across different administrations.

 

Learn how to understand your scores.
Read about scoring quality control.
See scoring before March 2005.

 

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