Report Your Superscore
Superscoring is the process of averaging your four best individual subject scores from all ACT test attempts to find a new score… a superscore. If you have taken the full ACT more than once or participated in section retests, you can directly submit your ACT superscore to colleges and universities, which will better reflect your knowledge and achievements.
Superscoring a way for students to put their best test results forward, as they apply for admissions and scholarships. The ACT test provides students with four subject test scores and a composite score. Superscoring is the process by which colleges consider the highest subject scores across all the dates the student took the ACT. Rather than confining scores to one particular test date, superscoring allows the student to select their highest individual test subject scores across all of their testing/retesting to calculate the highest possible composite score.
...now it’s an advocate. Why have you changed your stance on this process? Is superscoring fair?
As an organization grounded in research, we listen and respond appropriately when new information comes to light. ACT now endorses superscoring because of the results from a recent study that we conducted. Over the last two years, we have been investigating whether superscoring is a fair and valid practice.
Our research findings surprised us: they revealed that superscores were more predictive of how students would perform in their college courses than other scoring methods. Our concern that superscores would overestimate students’ academic preparation levels were unfounded based on the data. In addition to being supported by research, a great benefit of superscoring is that it allows students to put their best foot forward for college applications and scholarship eligibility. Learn ACT’s Position on Superscoring
...and, thus, increase ACT’s revenue?
Since it was founded in 1959, ACT has been a nonprofit organization, which has allowed it to put the priorities of students and schools first. These new enhancements, including superscoring, are based on the needs of students and schools in order to maximize student success.
...scores and not a superscore?
Colleges establish their own policies for admissions and scholarship decisions. ACT will supply them at least one full composite score with each superscore, plus all of the scores from the test events that are part of the superscore composite.
We encourage colleges and university to consider adding superscoring to their score-use policy because, as our research shows, superscores were just as predictive – if not more predictive – of first-year grades as other scoring methods. See Perspectives on using multiple score reports.
...the advent of subject retesting?
Superscores will only increase when students improve their scores on section retests. Therefore, we cannot say whether in the aggregate superscores will improve.
Superscoring is the process by which colleges consider the highest subject scores across all the dates the student took the ACT (and, next year, including the ACT Section Retest). Rather than confining scores to one particular test date, superscoring allows the student to select their highest individual test section scores from all of their tests to calculate the highest possible composite score.
The composite score is the average of a student’s four test scores – English, mathematics, reading, science – rounded to the nearest whole number. Fractions one-half or more are rounded up; fractions less than one-half are rounded down.
The composite score is the average of students’ four section test scores. The superscore is the average of the four best scores a student attained in each section over two or more test administrations.
Superscoring benefits students by allowing them to submit their highest scores for college admission and scholarship purposes. Students’ superscores will increase if they do better on a section retest than they did on previous times they took it, or if they take the entire test again. Superscoring and section retests showcase students’ skills and accomplishments gained over a lifetime and not only their test-taking abilities on one particular day. See How to calculate your superscore?
Colleges may want to consider superscoring given the results of a recent study conducted by ACT. The findings indicate that superscores were more predictive of how students would perform in their college courses than other scoring methods.
In addition to being supported by research, a great benefit of superscoring is that it allows students to put their best foot forward for college applications and scholarship eligibility.
Another reason a college should consider superscoring the ACT is if they are already superscoring the SAT. Whatever score-use policy an institution chooses, that policy should be applied consistently to all applicants. Concerns of fairness arise if one score-use policy (most recent score) is applied to some groups of applicants (e.g., females, ACT test takers) and a different score use policy (superscore) is applied to other groups of applicants (e.g., males, SAT test takers).
...but not the ACT?
If colleges superscore the SAT but not the ACT, ACT test takers can be negatively impacted because they do not benefit from the typical score gains associated with superscoring.
Whatever score-use policy an institution chooses, that policy should be applied consistently to all applicants. If a college is superscoring the SAT and wishes to continue to superscore the SAT, ACT recommends that they also superscore the ACT to be fair to all applicants.
In addition to considering the results of national validity studies, many colleges conduct local validity studies to inform their college admissions criteria and score-use policies. Based on results from their own research, many colleges and universities have identified superscoring as the most appropriate score-use policy in terms of predicting how applicants will perform on their campus.
No, not all colleges accept superscores but many do. Colleges and universities typically provide information about their score-use policy on their website. Students interested in applying to a particular college should consult its website to determine their score-use policy as this information can help inform whether a student should retest.
We encourage colleges and universities to consider superscoring as their score-use policy because, as our research shows, superscores are just as predictive – if not more predictive – of first-year grades as other scoring methods.
Superscoring benefits colleges by providing a more accurate indicator of how students are going to perform once in college. This is useful information from an admissions perspective as well as from a student success perspective because it more accurately identifies and provides appropriate resources to students who may be at-risk academically.
...to superscores and another school does not?
No, if a college and university applies the same score-use policy for all applicants, no applicants are at an unfair disadvantage. Students are only at an unfair disadvantage if different score policies are used for different groups of students (e.g., ACT test-takers vs. SAT test-takers) within the same institution.
That said, when considering institutions of comparable selectivity, a student may have a higher probability of being accepted at institutions that superscore as compared to institutions that do not, particularly if his/her superscore is relatively higher than an ACT Composite score based on other scoring methods.
Yes, we drafted this for you to use as a starting point.
University of ____ superscores the ACT. Superscoring at University of ____ means that we consider student’s highest ACT section (or subtest) scores regardless of test date. The super composite ACT score is calculated as the average of the best ACT English, Reading, Math and Science subject scores and is used as one of multiple factors in admission and financial aid. Beginning in September 2020, students are encouraged to send University of ____ their ACT test scores utilizing the Superscore reporting option. See example from Vanderbilt University.
...and sent to colleges which the student chooses to send their scores?
No. The student will have the option to send either a full ACT test score to a college or to send their superscore to a college.