Information about SAT Scoring

Scores Reported

The 2016 SAT includes a scoring system that is far more complex than the recently discontinued version, which gave only section scores of 200-800 and a composite score of 600-2400. The new SAT features a total score, section scores, test scores, subscores, and cross-test scores along with a separate scoring system for the now-optional essay.

Total Scores

The total score on the 2016 SAT ranges from 400 to 1600 and is the sum of the scores on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math sections, each of which counts equally toward the total score. The total score, sometimes also referred to as the "composite score," is the most well-known of the SAT numbers reported by the College Board, and is the score most frequently referred to in statistical analysis, rankings of student academic performance, and everyday discussions of the SAT.

Section Scores

Students receive section scores of 200 to 800 each for the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math sections. The former section consists of two tests, while the latter contains only one test, but these sections are nonetheless equal factors in the total (composite) score. Section scores are first calculated from the percentage of correct answers on each section's tests, which the College Board refers to as "raw scores." These raw scores are then converted to the 200-800 point sectional scores through a process that the College Board calls "equating," which is meant to provide consistency of scoring across all administrations of the SAT by accounting for variations among the several distinct versions of the test.

Test Scores

The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section includes a Reading Test and a Writing and Language Test, and students will receive a score on each of 10 to 40. The Math section consists only of a Math Test, which is likewise scored from 10 to 40. Test scores are a new feature of the SAT, and this enhanced scoring system allows the College Board to provide both an overall assessment of verbal skills and more targeted assessments of reading and writing abilities.

Subscores

The College Board also reports seven subscores for the 2016 SAT, each of which is between 1 and 15. All of these subscores are associated with one or more tests. The Words in Context and Command of Evidence subscores are drawn from questions on both the Reading Test and the Writing and Language Test. Expression of Ideas and Standard English Conventions are subscores that are specific to the SAT Writing and Language Test, while the Math Test includes three subscores: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Math. Subscores, which are a new category of assessment for the 2016 SAT, provide college admissions officials with information that is helpful to the general admissions process, and they also assist individual academic departments in their evaluations of applicants' skills in the areas that are most important to a given academic subject.

Cross-Test Scores

Questions on all three of the 2016 SAT's tests factor into two cross-test scores for Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science. Cross-test scores, which are given on a scale of 10 to 40, are also a new scoring category and a component of the principle of enhanced scoring.

Essay Scores

SAT Essay scores are from 2 to 8 in each of three areas: Reading, Analysis, and Writing. Essay scores are based on the composite of two independent scorers, and essay scores do not affect any other scoring category. This system allows separate evaluations of essay-writing and editing skills, the latter of which are the focus of the Writing and Language Test.

Retention of Traditional Scoring

The 2016 SAT retains the 800-point sectional structure that has been in place in one form or another since the test was first divided into verbal and math segments in 1930. With a minimum score of 200, this system has the advantage of providing a clear midpoint of 500 in the scoring range. Mean sectional scores have generally hovered around this level for much of the SAT's history, either through actual student performance or via College Board scaling of scores to reach this average.