Skate Canada Officials

How Judging Works

STAR 1-4

The STAR 1-4 competition program is where figure skating begins! The STAR system is designed to introduce skaters to performing and eventually competing. Skaters in STAR 1-4 are assessed against a standard for each element and program component by a panel of certified judges. The following table describes the correlation between the assessment standards of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit with the expected level of development of skaters.

Gold Silver Bronze Merit
Performance exceeds development standard for level Performance is at development standard for level Performance is slightly below development standard for level Performance is significantly below development standard for level

STAR 5 and above

STAR 5 to international competitions all use the same judging system. This system incorporates two panels of officials:

1. The technical panel identifies elements.

2. The judging panel evaluates the execution of the elements and the overall program.

For each event segment in all four disciplines (short program and free program in singles, pair and synchronized skating, and short dance and free dance in ice dance), points are awarded for a technical score and a program components score. The winner of each segment is determined by the total segment score, which is the result of adding together the total technical score and the program component score. Segments in all disciplines are scored similarly.

Total Element Score (TES):

Each existing element (e.g. jump, lift, step sequence, etc.) has a point value. Once a skater or team performs an element, it will be identified and confirmed by the technical panel, and the points are automatically added. The judging panel then decides upon the quality of that performed element using a scale of seven grades ranging from “-3” to “+3”. These grades of execution (GOE) represent numerical adjustments up or down to the base value of the element. If an element was performed well, the GOE will increase the value of the element; if the element was poor in quality, the value will go down. For each element, the highest and lowest points are discarded. The element score is the average determined from the points of the remaining judges. The individual element scores are added together to create the total element score (TES).

Program Components Score (PCS):

In addition to the technical elements, points are also awarded for the five different program components. Judging on an absolute scale of 0.25 to 10 (in increments of 0.25), the judges assess the overall presentation of the whole program. The program components include:

  • Skating Skills – the competitor’s ability to skate;
  • Transition – the variety and amount of linking movements between elements;
  • Performance – expresses the style, carriage and unison;
  • Composition – expresses the quality of composition of the program;
  • Interpretation of the music/timing – indicates the competitor/team’s expression of the music’s style, character and rhythm throughout the entire program.

The program component scores are calculated by averaging the scores provided by each judge for each component. Each is then multiplied by a factor that is set out in the rules for each event. They are then added together to create the total program component score (PCS).

Bonuses and Deductions:

Additional points may be awarded for innovative/difficult elements while deductions are made for rule violations and falls.


The TES is added to the PCS; plus any bonuses and minus any deductions. The result is the total segment score for that segment (short program/free program; short dance/free dance).

Total Competition Score:

For levels of competitions where skaters/teams skate two programs, the score from each of the segments is added together to give the total competition score. The skater/team with the highest total competition score wins the event.