Demystifying the Judging System: Roles, Rules & Report Cards (Part 3 of 3)

This is the final instalment in a three-part series about Demystifying the Judging System. Read Part 1: Roles and Part 2: Rules.

Part 3: Report Cards


You’re in the Kiss and Cry after you skated. You’re jubilant after a season’s best performance, devastated after your worst performance ever, or somewhere in between. You’re huddled as a team, filled with anxiety, and at that moment, there are only two numbers in the world that matter: your total score, and your ranking.

At some point after the celebration or consolation, you’ll look at your team’s report card. Many coaches, skaters, parents, and fans have become well-versed at interpreting the wall of codes and numbers it displays. Many people just want to see the difficulty levels (“calls”), and give up on the rest because it looks confusing. If you’ve ever looked at a report card and thought, “What does this all mean?” keep reading.

Using the 2018 World Championships free program report cards as a reference, I’ll explain what each section of the report card represents, and how the numbers are calculated. I’ll skip the more obvious parts, such as Rank, Name, and Starting Number. I’ll start at the top, and move left to right, and top to bottom.

Total Segment Score

“Segment” refers to the short or free skating segment. In this case, this is the team’s total score for the free skating portion of the competition. The Total Segment Score is calculated by adding up the Element Score and the Program Component Score (factored), and subtracting the Total Deductions.


Total Element Score & Scores of Panel

The Total Element Score and Scores of Panel are the same, just shown in different places. This number represents the combination of the Technical Panel’s calls and the GOEs the judges awarded. In other words, it reflects both how difficult the performed elements were, and how well they were executed.


Total Program Component Score (factored)

This number is shown at the top of the page and at the bottom right of the Program Components section. It’s simply the overall calculation of all of the judges’ program component marks. I’ll explain this calculation a little later.


Total Deductions

Deductions are captured in a few places. Deductions that apply to the element (seen on Nexxice’s report card, two images back) are not part of the Total Deductions. Deductions for falls, interruptions, non-permitted elements, illegal elements, etc., are taken from the total score, and are shown at the top and bottom of the report card. In the case of a fall, if it happened during an element, an F is shown next to that element, but the deduction is still applied to the total score, not the element score (though the element score is impacted by GOE reductions for the error).


Executed Elements

This section shows, in order, the elements the team performed and the difficulty levels the Technical Panel called. If you aren’t sure what the codes mean, you can find this information in the Scale of Values and the ISU Communication that outlines the Difficulty Groups for the applicable season.


Base Value

The Base Value is the number of points the team gets for meeting the criteria for a difficulty level. This report card shows that GL3 (Group Lift Level 3) was worth 5.30 points last season. The number at the bottom of that column is simply the sum of the base values for all of the elements that were performed. This is essentially what the elements are worth based solely on the Technical Panel’s calls, before the judges apply their GOE.


GOE, Elm. Ded., J1-J9, and Scores of Panel

This section takes up the bulk of the report card, and is where most people’s eyes start to glaze over. Hang in there; I promise this won’t be too painful.

The numbers in the GOE column are calculated by doing a bunch of math with the numbers in the J1-J9 (Judge 1-Judge 9) columns. The numbers in the Scores of Panel column are calculated by doing math with the Base Values, GOEs and Element Deductions. I’ll break down Team Jingu Ice Messengers’ “Intersection without pi” as an example (3rd element).


The call for this element was I3+d1. That means the Tech Panel thought it met the criteria for Level 3, based on what was executed, but they also applied a deduction. (When you see a deduction applied to an element and you aren’t sure what it’s for, the fastest way to find out is usually by consulting the Technical Handbook — not yet published for the 2018-19 season.)

Last season, the Base Value for I3 was 3.10. How do we know this? It’s in the Scale of Values. Note that the format of last year’s Scale of Values, where these screenshots are taken from, looks a little different than this year’s. But the concepts are the same.

IMG_0030 2IMG_0031

If every single judge had given the element a 0 for GOE, and no deductions were applied, 3.10 is what would show in the Scores of Panel column for that element. But, that’s not what happened here. The nine judges gave GOEs between 0 and 2. So how do we get to a final score of 3.07 for that element? To the Scale of Values!

The GOEs that judges award (previously -3 to +3, now -5 to +5) each have a specified value. The Scale of Values tells us that when a judge gives a +2 to an I3, they are really giving 0.6 points (see previous screenshot). As judges, we don’t know that at the time, because we don’t see the Tech Panel’s calls when we put in our marks. When we press +2, we don’t know what it’s really worth because we don’t know what level the Tech Panel called for the element. Plus, if we had to remember numbers to decimal places for every element, our heads would explode, so we just have to remember the criteria for each + or – GOE, and then the computers do the heavy lifting. But if you replaced the GOEs the judges gave with numbers from the Scale of Values, it would look like this:


I hear you saying, “That’s nice, but where does 3.07 come from?!” Stick with me.

First, you drop the highest and lowest GOE from the equation. So we’re going to ignore the +2 (0.6) and 0 (0.0) from Judges 1 and 9. (If there are fewer than five judges on the panel, the high and low are not dropped.)


Then, you add up the rest, which gives you 3.30. You then divide by the number of remaining judges (7, after we dropped the high and low) to get the average, which is 0.47. You see this number in the GOE column.


The number in the Scores of Panel column is the Base Value, plus the GOE, minus any Element Deductions. In this case, 3.10 + 0.47 – 0.5 = 3.07. Ta da!


These calculations are explained in the Special Regulations and Technical Rules, though without specific examples and screenshots. Hopefully the visuals help a little.  


You’re probably wondering what that blank Ref column is doing there, taking up space. The Referee does actually input marks of their own. They aren’t shown, and they don’t count. But they are used for the Referee’s own reference during post-event discussion, and for marking exams. At some smaller competitions, the Referee also acts as a judge. In those cases, their marks are shown, and they do count.

Program Components

Now that you’re an expert at GOE calculations, calculating Program Component Scores will be a piece of cake. You do the math in the exact same way. For each Component (row), you drop the high and the low, then average the rest. That gives you the number in the far right-hand column.

However, you’ll notice that if you just add up the five numbers in the right-hand column, they don’t equal the bold number at the bottom. This is where the Factor column comes in. A factor is applied to the Program Component Scores the judges give to provide some more balance between the Element Score and the PCS — so that one doesn’t take too much precedence over the other when calculating the team’s final score. In the short program, the factor is smaller, because there are fewer elements. Similarly to GOE math, factoring means the judges don’t have to worry about how many elements there are in the program and adjust their PCS higher or lower to get that balance in marks…the computers take care of it.

So, the math works like this:

  • For each Program Component, drop the high and low judge marks.
  • Average the rest.
  • That’s the number in the far right column.


  • Multiply each of those numbers by the factor (1.60).
  • Add those up.
  • That’s the “Judges Total Program Component Score (factored).”


Congratulations! You made it. I hope this will make report cards a more valuable tool for your team this season. If you still have your report cards from last season, I recommend doing some analysis on them as well. I wrote about that topic several years ago, and it’s just as relevant today.

Don’t forget to check out Parts 1 and 2 of Demystifying the Judging System:


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