Few parents and students are aware of the meaning of Superscore and Score Choice in the standardized tests SAT and ACT. Here is how it works.
Score Choice is a terminology introduced by College Board (SAT) and it is supposed to work in students’ favor in order to minimize the stress of performing during the test day. The main idea is that the student has the decision, is in charge, of sending the scores to colleges. Being in control or “choice” of sending the scores to the colleges will reduce the stress during the test.
Let’s say the student is failing for any reason a test, or particularly a section during which they have been distracted, then she or he can decide to void the scores and try again next time. In reality all the scores are kept in the College Board files and recorded. There are very few exceptions allowing students to completely erase the scores from College Board’s database and that involves a higher level effort from the student and the family.
The main issue here that many parents and students do not know or are not made aware of is that there are colleges, not many and mainly in the IV League, that require that all test scores be sent along with the application. 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 the process that colleges go for using the students Score Choice. 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/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.