Inconsistencies in the New SAT Score-Reporting Policy

College Board has faced questions about score choice.

In November, when we wrote the blog, “College Board’s New Score Reporting Policy – Score Choice,” we made references to our June blog on the same topic where we spoke to a College Board (CB) representative and learned that some of the particulars of this new policy were not yet defined.  We also mentioned how at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) conference in Seattle in September when high school guidance, admissions and independent counselors asked representatives of the College Board very specific questions about score choice, the College Board representatives still didn’t have many answers.

Since then, some of the information has been delineated on the College Board’s website for professionals. Yet, with this new information, in the past couple of weeks, we’ve been hearing from our juniors who have been attending information sessions at different colleges that score choice may not be applicable. So yesterday, once again, we called the College Board’s counselor hotline and asked how some colleges would be able to see all scores and yet others would see only the scores that the student wants them to see. The answer we received was that they don’t yet know but they’ve been getting feedback from colleges and they’re considering several different options.

Here are some of the possibilities that the CB representative presented:

1. Colleges may use an honor system that requires the applicant to submit all the scores.


2. After receiving the student’s score report, an admissions counselor can call the College Board to verify that all of the scores were reported. If the student did use score choice, admissions counselors can then access the unreported scores over the phone.


3. The high school guidance counselor will be obligated to submit all scores at an admissions counselor’s request.

We at Ivy Coach see each of these possibilities outlined above creating additional issues.

#1 – ‘The honor system’: We don’t see how this is going to work.  Some some students will adhere to this “honor code,” and yet still others will invariably neglect to report all of their scores.

#2 – ‘Admissions checking with CB’: While the College Board can and does make its own rules, this seems to negate the value and the intent of score choice.

#3 – ‘High school counselors caught in the middle’: In what seems a contradictory statement, the College Board is actually “strongly suggesting” that high school counselors “obtain the consent of students” in sending the entire report. Under FAQ’s of the same report, it says:

“Q: How will counselors know which scores to release or include on a transcript?

A: The College Board recommends that high schools do not include SAT scores when sending student transcripts to colleges or universities. We strongly suggest that counselors obtain the consent of students prior to releasing their scores, even if these scores are needed by a third-party program (for example, a scholarship or recognition service).”

The following are additional statements from this report:

“Score Choice will not affect score reports sent to students or to their high schools—both will continue to receive all scores.”

“Score Choice will be an optional feature. Students should still feel comfortable sending all scores, since most colleges consider a student’s best score.”

“Colleges will continue to set their own test requirement policies. These policies may vary from college to college. The College Board will work with colleges to provide them with guidance on formulating and/or clarifying their score-submitting policy. Students will be encouraged to follow the different score-reporting requirements of each college to which they apply.”

We still can’t get over the fact that now six months after this new policy was announced, the College Board hasn’t established firm guidelines. One would think that a company that is a leader in its field would be better organized and not leave students, parents, admissions and college counselors in a general state of confusion.

According to CB, this new policy was “designed to reduce student stress and improve the test-day experience,” but what these ambiguities are actually doing is creating additional stress. We find it incredulous that the test-makers who have dominated the college testing market for over a century and who write the questions that help to determine college admissions, cannot produce definitive answers.


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