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Thread: Scoring System for Singles

  1. #1
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    Updated 10/29/13:

    ISU documentation on the scoring system


    Program Components Overview

    Program Components Explanations

    Singles and Pairs documents

    The link to the latest ISU communication from the ISU Single and Pair Skating documents page prompts you open a PDF, so I can't link to it directly there. Go to the link above and open ISU Communication 1790 (or whichever communication replaces it next time it's updated, probably spring 2014).

    The technical panel handbooks are long documents with details on how the technical panels call elements for singles and pairs


    US Figure Skating has direct links on their site to pieces of the latest ISU communication:
    Singles and Pairs

    Scale of Values from ISU Comm. 1790

    Levels of difficulty (singles) from ISU Comm. 1790


    Levels of difficulty (pairs) from ISU Comm. 1790

    Establishing GOE from ISU Comm. 1790



    Before addressing specific examples, especially controversial ones, make sure you have a grasp on the general principles of how the scoring system works. I (or Doris or another Golden Skate poster) could summarize in this thread, or you can read the ISU's summary.

    We could probably have separate discussions of what the technical panel does, what the judges do in scoring elements, and what the judges do in scoring program components.

  2. #2
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    This is quite a substantial undertaking, requiring hours and hours of research even to begin. Speaking for myself, I am not an expert in the ISU judging system, and I don't skate. I do not know what a counter or a Mohawk is. The ISU, through its hundreds of "Communications" publishes continual explanations, clarifications, and changes aimed at technical specials, other skating officials, and coaches. These are virtually impossible to keep up with. How is the choreographed spiral scored? How many revolutions do you have to do in each position to get a "feature" toward a "level"?

    For my own use, I have found these two documents to be the most helpful. Communication 1611 has all of the numbers. Base values for all the elements, increments for GOEs, "bullets" for positive and negative GOEs, and features for levels of spins and step sequences. It is lengthy, but not hard to read (mostly just long columns of numbers).

    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/pa...v-list,00.html (Click on Communication 1611)

    The document "Explanation of program components" lists what the judges are supposedly looking for in the program components marks. It is less helpful than communications 1611 for the technical scores. I do not really understand what they are getting at in some of their terminology. Or rather, I shoud say I don't see how the judges are supposed to measure these things.

    For instance, one of the features for the performance/execution mark is "the skater radiates energy resulting in an invisible connection with the audience." At the recent worlds the audience booed Patrick Chan, but he got a 9 in this category anyway. I guess the judges thought that he was "emotionally sincere" to an outstanding degree (one of the other bullets.)

    (Not to be picking on Patrick, just illustrating the difficulties of explaining or understanding the scoring system.)

    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/pa...v-list,00.html (Click on "Explanation of program components)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Before addressing specific examples, especially controversial ones, make sure you have a grasp on the general principles of how the scoring system works. I (or Doris or another Golden Skate poster) could summarize in this thread, or you can read the ISU's summary.

    We could probably have separate discussions of what the technical panel does, what the judges do in scoring elements, and what the judges do in scoring program components.
    For the benefit of anyone who's new to the whole scoring process, I'll summarize the ISU's summary here.

    There are two parts to the scoring for each performance and two groups of officials who contribute to them.

    First is the Technical Elements Score
    Skaters perform technical elements, with different requirements and restrictions based on competition level (senior, junior, novice), discipline (men's singles, ladies' singles, pairs), and competition phase (short and long program).
    Pairs have more kinds of elements that I won't get into right now.

    Singles have jumps, spins, step sequences, and currently for senior ladies' long programs only there's also a "choreographed spiral sequence."

    Each element has a base value, listed in the Scale of Values, along with the computer code for that element.

    As the skater performs, the technical panel calls out each of the elements, to be entered into the computer. There are three members of the technical panel who work together to make these decisions, conferring after the program and reviewing video replay for any elements that were questionable.

    Jumps are called according to takeoff and number of revolutions. If a multirevolution jump has less than the defined amount of rotation in the air, then the panel will call it "underrotated" (shown by a < symbol; scored at 70% of the full jump's base value) or "downgraded" (<< symbol; base value of the jump with the same takeoff and one less revolution, e.g., downgraded triple salchow starts from base value for a double salchow). The tech panel will also add an "e" symbol if a flip or lutz takes off from the opposite edge it's supposed to, or if the takeoff edge is unclear/flat.

    For spins and step sequences, the panel calls the specific type of element and also assigns a level. Each of these categories of elements has a list of features that raise the level. All start at level 1 if they meet the basic definition of the element. If the skater gets credit for 2 features, the element is called as level 2; 3 features gives level 3; 4 features gives level 4.

    The choreographed spiral sequence in the senior ladies' long program and the second step sequence in the senior men's long program no longer receive levels; they are given either a base mark of 2 points or no value if they don't meet the minimum requirements.

    There are fine details to what the technical panel does, but that's the general overview.

    So most of the technical score comes from the technical panel identifying exactly what the skater did.

    The judging panel also contributes to the Technical Elements Score by assigning a grade of execution (GOE) to each element. If the element is satisfactory, they give a GOE of 0, which means the skater receives the base value for the element. If the judges think the element was better than just satisfactory they can give bonus points in the form of positive GOEs of +1, +2, or in rare cases +3. If the judges think that the element was flawed, they give negative GOEs of -1, -2, or -3 to be subtracted from the base value. The GOEs of all the judges for an element are averaged and the average is added to or subtracted from the base.

    The Scale of Values lists how much each plus or minus is worth for each element so that the bonuses and reductions are not the same for easy, medium, and hard elements but are roughly proportional to the base values.

    The base scores plus or minus GOEs for each element are added together to make the Technical Elements Score (TES).


    The second score is the Program Components Score

    The Judges each score each whole performance on a scale of 0-10 in five categories. See the program components explanations on the ISU page linked above for details.

    The judges' scores for each component are averaged are multiplied by a factor (for junior and senior men's short programs the factor is 1) and all five are added together to obtain the Program Components Score (PCS).


    The TES and PCS are added together to make the Total Segment Score (TSS).
    Then there can also be 1.0-point deductions for falls and certain kinds of rule violations that are subtracted from the TSS.


    The TSS for each segment of the competition (short and long program) are added together for the final results.



    Now, if you want to get specific about the scoring of a particular performance, it will help to know whether you want to focus on how the tech panel called the elements, how the judges graded the elements, or how the judges scored the program components. If you're looking at final results, make sure to look at each segment of the competition separately because the overall results may not match the long program results.

  4. #4
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Thanks Math & gkelly. I have copied your posts to a new IJS singles thread in the Reference section

  5. #5
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    ^ You needn'd have copied mine, DorisP. All I had to say is I don't know diddly about the scoring system.

    But I like looking at long rows of numbers.

  6. #6
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Math, You had the links to the current documents, which are tricky to find at this end of the season, because they have fallen into the "Older Documents" bucket on the ISU website.

    So your post is definitely worthwhile!

  7. #7
    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    This is great, people can keep referring to this thread as they learn or forget like me. I don't care what anyone says, IJS is not easy, there is no other sport so complicated to understand now. There are so many variables. I wish 6.0 was changed somewhat, but this is a lot for non skaters. Like MM, I don't know a mohawk from any other Indian, lol, so videos that explain are best for me. It would be great to see live comps but that isn't gonna happen. This is a great site for all FS fans at all levels. Great job mods and posters like Gkelly.
    Last edited by Mathman; 04-05-2012 at 10:38 PM.

  8. #8
    “Our blade takes us in the most amazing places.” skatingfan4ever's Avatar
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    I have a question. Where on the protocols sheet does it say which levels skaters got for spins and footwork? I can't tell just from looking at the PDF. What am I missing? Also, what exactly does "factored" mean? I'd really like a quick lesson on how to read the protocols accurately. Thanks in advance for any info!

  9. #9
    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatingfan4ever View Post
    I have a question. Where on the protocols sheet does it say which levels skaters got for spins and footwork? I can't tell just from looking at the PDF. What am I missing? Also, what exactly does "factored" mean? I'd really like a quick lesson on how to read the protocols accurately. Thanks in advance for any info!
    Re the indication of levels in the protocols PDF:
    Look for the numeral at the end of the element. Examples:

    CSSp4 = Level 4

    StSq3 = Level 3

    Thanks to Mrs. P for explaining this part of the scoring to me a while back.

  10. #10
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    On the protocols, the elements with levels have codes that end in a number. E.g., CCoSp4 is a level 4 combination spin with change of foot; StSq3 is a level 3 step sequence; 5ALi3 is a level 3 axel lasso lift, etc.

    New last year is a "basic" level, so some elements that just meet the requirements for an element but not for any features will have a B at the end of the code instead of a number from 1 to 4. E.g., SSpB would be a sit spin with no features, level "B."

    The factors are numbers that the program component raw scores are multiplied by before being added into the total score.

    Judges always assign program components on the same scale of 0 to 10, and the numbers are supposed to mean the same regardless of which discipline they're judging, or whether it's a short or a long program.

    However, the designers of the system wanted the PCS total to equal approximately half of the total score for each program. Of course it will vary because some skaters are better at executing elements and others are better at everything between the elements, and anyone can have a bad day with the elements.

    If the skaters are doing more elements (in long programs) or harder, higher-valued elements (men with quads), then the Technical Elements Score will be higher. If they're doing fewer or lower-value elements, the TES will be lower. So, to keep the PCS approximately equal to the TES, the PCS is multiplied by a number that will usually keep the two sets of scores in the same general range.

    For the men's short program, the factor is 1 -- i.e., the numbers that the judges assign are just multiplied by 1 so they stay exactly the same when they're added into the total segment score.

    For men's long program, the factor is 2 -- the judges' averaged scores for the PCS are doubled before being added to the TES.

    For ladies and pairs, the TES tends to be lower so the factors are lower: 0.8 for short programs and 1.6 for long programs.

    Ice dance is more complicated because some components are worth more than others and the proportion between them is not identical for short dance and free dance.

  11. #11
    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The factors are numbers that the program component raw scores are multiplied by before being added into the total score. ....

    If the skaters are doing more elements (in long programs) or harder, higher-valued elements (men with quads), then the Technical Elements Score will be higher. If they're doing fewer or lower-value elements, the TES will be lower. So, to keep the PCS approximately equal to the TES, the TES is multiplied by a number that will usually keep the two sets of scores in the same general range. ...
    And now, thanks to gkelly , I understand the concept of factoring too.

  12. #12
    “Our blade takes us in the most amazing places.” skatingfan4ever's Avatar
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    Thanks for all that helpful info golden411 and gkelly! The system isn't THAT hard to grasp if you know what to watch for. The scores can still be mystifying at times, but the basics of the system itself are relatively easy to understand.

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