# Superscore confusion and definition.

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by F15DOC, Oct 5, 2015.

1. ### F15DOCMember

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After searching and reading numerous posts on the forums I have more questions than when I started!
I have read posts that say the USAFA does superscore and others that they don't superscore.
Perhaps the definition of supercore is the confusion.
Question: Does the USAFA Superscore and what does that mean?
Discussion: Does USAFA Superscore mean that they take the best ACT scores in each section and combine them for your overall: ie 1) E29 M30 R32 S28 2) E32 M29 R31 S29
So the Superscore would be E32 M30 R32 S29?
Or is it simply the best composite of the two?
I have heard that the USNA does the true superscore, as I have demonstrated here, whereas the USAFA takes the best overall or composite of your multiple attempts.
Thanks for helping clarify this

2. ### Jcc123Member

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"There is super scoring per test but we do not super score between tests."

This was in response to this exact question. The admission rep indicated that if you take the ACT multiple times, they will takes your highest sub scores from all tests. They will not, however, take your highest CR on the SAT combined with your highest math on the ACT.

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3. ### ChristcorpMember

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Yes, what Jcc said, but to clarify. Don't get confused with the words "Between Tests". The academy WILL and DOES superscore all your ACT tests. If you take the ACT test 5 times, they will take the BEST individual scores of the 5 and combine the. Meaning, if you had math scores of 30, 28, 31, 29, 29. They will use the 31. Same with ALL subjects.

They will do the same thing if you take the SAT test instead of the ACT. but as Jcc said, they will NOT combine ACT and SAT scores. When all is said and done, they will take the BEST combine ACT test, or the BEST combined SAT, depending on which test you took, or BOTH.

4. ### F15DOCMember

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Well that is the clarification I was looking for, so they will take the best of each section on like Exams, thanks!!

5. ### ChristcorpMember

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One extra piece. If you take both the sat and the act, like we recommend for everyone, after the dust settles and they've super scored each, assuming you took the act and sat multiple times, the academy has an algorithm that compares the results of the act vs the sat. (For those who only take one or the other). The academy will then use the better of the two tests. If your act is better than the sat, they will use the act. If sat scores are better, they will use the sat.

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6. ### billybMember

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Rant start....

I know everyone has to play the admission game, but doesn't this all sound silly? The superscore aspect doesn't really mean you are a better student after test #3 than you were after test #1. It probably means that you are better at taking that specific test and know all the tricks.

There is no easy answer of comparing schools from across the country, but the whole idea of taking a test 5 times to get the best superscore doesn't seem to me to show who the best students are.

Note: if my kid were applying to USXA I would have them play the game too since those are the current rules.

Wish there was a better way.

Rant over.....

7. ### F15DOCMember

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Roger that...

8. ### MemberLGMember

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No. If SA don't tell candidates if they superscore or not superscore, that will be silly.

I suspect for majority of candidates, their superscores of SAT/ACT are within 5o to 100 points their average SAT/ACT scores. In my opinion, superscoring allows candidate to make up for a bad test (i.e. nervousness, calculator going bad, taking it too early, etc). I guess I am one of those applicants that play the admission game as the biggest score difference I achieved in one section was almost 200 points.

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My only issue is that the superscore approach favors those who can afford to pay for 5 or 6 test fees (unless you are super low income). There is a pretty good segment of middle income parents who cannot afford to lay out that money let alone pay for private tutors.

Is there an easy solution? No. You definitely need a standardized system to differentiate between schools with GPA inflation vs. those that don't. In the meantime, this is what we have to work with!

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10. ### F15DOCMember

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Those are all good points. How often have you seen posts on here from candidates that are top 10 in their high school yet score 25s-28s on ACT? Grade inflation is real in schools, and some quite frankly just don't educate their students well. My son goes to a nationally ranked public high school with a simply amazing group of high achieving classmates, they don't grade weight, he is barely in top 25% of his class with a 3.6gpa. He is an amazing student, got his AP scholar letter last week, took AP Calc as a Junior... so class rank and GPA don't demonstrate what a great student he is. But when you look at the strength of his class schedule it tells another story. So those national tests are the great equalizer, he scores 30's-32's on the ACT. His superscored composite would probably be 32. As a 3 sport athlete and club president he is a busy kid, the gpa and class rank are unreliable from school to school, the national scores tell the story...

11. ### billybMember

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I would say that scores on AP tests are much better indicators than the SAT / ACT. I know not all schools offer these which is an issue too, but SAT subject tests could help pick up the slack.

12. ### MemberLGMember

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If so, you should have issues with the whole admissions process as it favors candidates with parents that can pay

- some school systems charge sports fees - can't pay the sports fee, no high school sports
- hard to make certain varsity teams in many schools without participating in club/travel team, clinics, and/or camps, all these activities cost \$\$
- according to some postings, it seems like in certain situation a candidate to self-fund Boy/Girl state attendance

It is what it is, as simply richer parents give candidates competitive potentials, which often turns into competitive edge.

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13. ### F15DOCMember

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Love the words "competitive potentials", perfect description of that opportunity....

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If this was true then everyone's scores would be best on their last test. Just does not work that way. Questions vary, and sometimes people just have a bad day.

Scratch very deeply and you'll find that competitive college admissions have a much better baseline of individual HS performance than you would realize. And are smart enough (or have algorithms) that account for magnet schools, small schools, etc. As well as a rigorous course load vs coasting, etc. One local, very competitive school tells you up front that you need both strong grades in rigorous coursework and strong test scores. But that strong coursework with OK test scores will trump perfect test scores and non-challenging coursework regardless of grades.

Your assumption is also flawed about multiple tests... some kids take the tests 5 times to try to improve their single best sitting as many competitive schools do not superscore or do not for scholarships. For my civvy son he was 5 points short of a key scholarship eligibility for an out of state school that would have enabled him to attend. As much as I hated writing the checks, he had to keep trying as the payoff would have been significant in comparison.

Same for direct entry into honors programs and similar.

A sibling mentioned their daughter could not focus on AP classes and SAT Prep because of her sports load. And accordingly did not perform as well as expected/hoped. Yet was clearly not on a track for sports scholarship/recruiting. I had to remind them how out of whack that was... in your late sophomore thru fall Senior years there is nothing more important a kid can be doing than academic exam prep and associated coursework.

15. ### billybMember

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Here is what Harvard says: "We consider your best test scores, but it is generally our experience that taking tests more than twice offers diminishing returns."

I also think that when a school superscores, kids might blow off one portion of the test in order to concentrate all of their study efforts on the score (English, Math, Science etc...) they need to raise so it doesn't automatically mean that they will have their best total test results with their last test.

16. ### ChristcorpMember

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Facts.

1. Scores don't always go up each time you take the test.
2. Scores don't dramatically increase or decrease. E.g 23 first test 33 2nd time
3. My experience shows that the average scores for an individual will be about the same, whether they take it 3 times or 5 times.
4. It doesn't cost that much to take the test, and most school districts pay for the first test.
5. If you prepare properly, which can be done on the Internet for free, the vast majority don't need to take the tests more than twice.
6. All students have the same options taking the tests, so there's no real advantage of one person over another. I don't put any weight on th position of "those who can afford to take the test 5 times". See #4.

The academies do a very good job at comparing schools. Your points aren't decided based only on what classes you take. It's based on what classes are AVAILABLE and then, what classes you take. That is why the act and sat are so important. While the academy does a good job comparing schools, it isn't perfect. The act and sat are the great academic equalizer.

Now, if you're looking for perfection in a system, don't. Nothing is perfect in life. But the academies do a very good job doing what they can. This is why you can make up for a 27 act with a 4.0gpa unweighted in the IB program or all AP classes and ranked #1 in your class. Or, make up for a 3.7 gap and ranked at 50% by having a 32 act score.

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17. ### brovolMember

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My son attends a school in aa very rural area. There is no premium on education. Indeed only a small percentage of adults have attended college. I am a judge and have a juvinile docket. The kids most frequently are bright intellectually, but lack direction with education.

I honestly believe that if my son, who is a very good student, attended a better, more competitive school, and if we lived in an area where there is an expectation to achieve academically, that he would do better on the ACT. He isn't bad now, but if he were going to school where teachers focus on the ACT or SAT test and there are study programs, or a school with better teachers and classes, with more motivated students to chalange, his score would be higher.

There are a couple different perspectives here is all I am saying.

18. ### ChristcorpMember

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This is why the academies require a copy of your school's profile. What classes are offered, average student gpa, percentage of kids who go to college after graduating, the type of college they go to, etc. the academy is interested in your socio economic background. They look at all the diversity that an applicant has and adversities they have to deal with.

While there are definitely cadets who had a 33-36 act, there are also some who had 26. There are 4.0 gpa cadets, and those coming in with a 3.0. There are rich kids, poor kids, urban, rural, farm and ranch. Traditional family, single parent, foster kids, etc.

My main point is, the academy takes the information you give them and they look at the whole picture. What did you have available to you, and what did you do with it. I've seen kids here in wyoming in a school with K-12 that only totaled about 100 kids, get an appointment with no AP or IB classes. Yet, I've seen kids from big cities and big schools, with a 4.0 gpa in all AP type classes NOT get an appointment. The first kid took what he had, and did the best he could with it. The 2nd, took all the benefits and advantages they had offered, and he squandered it.

There may be many different perspectives, but what matters is the academy's perspective. And once you understand what that is, you understand what they are looking for. They want potential military leaders. Not a bunch of brainiacs that have nothing else. The academies would rather have the well rounded in all areas kid with a 3.6 gpa and 27-28 act, than the academics only 4.0 gpa, #1 in the class, and 36 act.

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