A month late, PSAT scores based on new SAT format are out

Both of my twins took the PSAT this year as high school juniors, so I was doubly confused about the delay in seeing their scores and the challenges in accessing them once they were finally online last week. And apparently so were other parents whose teens took the revamped PSAT on Oct. 14.

psatThe scores were supposed to be out in December, but were delayed a month. While some students could see their scores last week at the College Board site, some high school counselors experienced problems, including at my local high school.

The Washington Post reports: Sandra Riley, vice president for communications at the College Board, said a new online scoring system created to accommodate scoring reports for the newly designed SAT, which is launching this coming spring, is to blame. She said that initial testing did not reveal “large-scale issues” but a series of “small issues” that are being fixed as they present themselves.

Given nationwide in October to high school juniors during the school day, the PSAT is a practice for the SAT and also the qualifying exam for National Merit Scholarships. The test scores help counselors advise 11th graders on whether to focus on SAT or ACT prep. And some kids use the PSAT score report to figure out their weaknesses.

High school juniors this year took a new PSAT, which reflects the overhauled SAT making its debut in March. Along with format changes, the PSAT also had new scoring. The top score on the PSAT is not 800, as it is on the SAT, but 760. That will lower the score needed to quality for National Merit, which is announced in September.

Online forums are buzzing with questions from high school juniors and their parents trying to make sense of the new scores. And the PSAT hotline at the College Board was swamped last week.

When I tried to call the College Board PSAT line Thursday and Friday, I kept getting messages there were too many calls and to try later. All told, it took me about three hours to get through between the repeated calls, the waits once I got through, the occasional disconnects and the callback when the fix did not work. My children had the problem of having more than one account with the College Board, in part because their school emails changed over the last year.

A counselor sent me this note:

Yes, some students may be able to log in and see, but the College Board is having issues on their end getting everything done. If a student logs in and sees nothing, they may need to wait. Here is additional info from the College Board.

“If a student sees a message like [no scores in system], it means that the key information from his or her PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet doesn’t match the information used to set up the College Board account.

Students need to click the ‘add scores’ button on the screen, where they will be asked to review/edit their account data. Once any necessary edits are made, students should click ‘get my scores’ and will be prompted to indicate which test they are missing (PSAT/NMSQT 2015) and their Access Code, which can be obtained by counselors or others with educator report access from the Roster Report in the Report Center. Scores will populate if all the information matches.

Note:  if a change to the student’s name is required, he or she will need to call Customer Service.

The Post story quotes high school counselors upset with the delays in the PSAT score release. One said, “…it is frustrating our juniors who wanted to use their PSAT results for a more focused SAT prep over our winter break. The students lose out.”



Reader Comments 0


Gee, I'm confused. This column tells us almost daily that testing is an invalid way of measuring learning. That testing companies are compromising education for profits. That time spent testing is time wasted, etc.

But now all this angst when PSAT scores are reported late.


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Laraine Simpson
Laraine Simpson

So are we done with the writing section now?  I was a little confused that the score we used to call "verbal" is now called "reading and writing," but I guess it's basically the "verbal" thing. It was sort of nuts trying to compare this year's stores with last year's when last year had three numbers that were on a different scale entirely.  Anyway, we logged in and got everything fine, but it certainly was very late.


You would think a large corporation could get it right after all this time.  Still, a month late is better than the "you'll get it after school starts" that teachers in Georgia have had to put up with for years on getting CRCT results.

What did your children think about the new PSAT? Are their scores about as you and they expected?

MaureenDowney moderator

@Wascatlady Have only seen 1 set as still trying to figure out logon and password for other twin. My kids took SAT in 7th grade so they apparently have three different accounts, which we need to have collapsed into one. But waiting for the call volume to slow down so I don't have to devote hours to it. 

And the scores were about what my son expected.


@MaureenDowney @Wascatlady I've observed that the most skilled kids usually can estimate well their scores, and are rarely surprised, but that less skilled students are often "shocked" at their scores, which are markedly lower than they had thought.