Tag Archive for: Judging 101

Skate Judging 101: How is a Program Scored?

Skating is a sport that combines extreme technical expertise and physical stamina with artistry. For those fans who are newer to the sport or in need of a little understanding on skating’s judging system, we’re here to give you some basics on judging and scoring.

This crash course on the Judging System is just in time to help you enjoy the 2016
Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

So how does the judging system work and what factors are used to calculate your
favourite skater’s performance?

Each segment (or program) is graded by combining two sets of scores:

  • Technical Elements (TES – Total Element Score)
  • Program Components (PCS – Program Component Score)

Each skater (or pair) is judged on their specific program elements and components, or presentation.

Let’s take a closer look at Technical Elements and Program Components:

The TES is composed of a Base Value for each element within a program (i.e. jump, spin, lift, step sequence, etc.) determined by the Technical Panel, and the Grade of Execution (GOE), graded by a panel of up to nine judges. The more difficult the element, the higher the Base Value.

The Technical Panel is generally made up of a team of five: the Technical Specialist,
Assistant Technical Specialist, Technical Controller, Data Input Operator and Video Replay Operator. Together, the Technical Panel works to identify or “call” each performed element and the Base Value associated with it. The Base Value of each element has a point value assigned to it. In some cases the Technical Panel also determines the Level of Difficulty associated with that element (i.e. footwork, spins). If the planned element was not completed – for instance, if a jump was under-rotated – then the Base Value of that element is reduced.

Once an element is identified and confirmed by the Technical Panel, that element is
immediately displayed on the touch screens of all nine judges, who will give a Grade of Execution (GOE) for the quality of the element using a seven-point scale (+3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3). A GOE of +3 means the element is considered world-class.

For each element, the highest and lowest GOEs are discarded and an average of the remaining scores is then calculated, referred to as the “trimmed mean.” The sum of the trimmed mean GOEs and the Base Values of all the elements gives the Total Element Score.

Instantaneous, slow-motion video replay is at the fingertips of the Technical Panel, so any particular element can be reviewed to determine if it was completed. At most events, video replay is also available for the judges to assess the quality of an element for their own scoring.

Each planned element in any program will have a designated Base Value attached to it.

If a skater were to receive a GOE of “0” on every element – which means the element was simply “completed” – then the technical score is identical to the total Base Values of the elements.

In addition to the Total Element Score (TES), Judges also award points for overall quality and presentation of the program based on five components: skating skills, transitions, performance/execution, choreography/composition and interpretation. The skater is assigned a mark for each of these components, scored from 0.25 to 10, in increments of 0.25.

The total score for any segment (program) is the Total Element Score and Program Components added together less any deductions (e.g. 1.0 for a fall). Please see the corresponding charts for segment and competition score breakdowns, and scoring benchmarks at senior level events.


Men, Women, Pair & Synchronized

Short Program Score +
Free Program Score =
Total Competition Score


Ice Dance

Short Dance Score + Free Dance Score
= Total Competition Score
Pattern Dance 1 Score (x.5) +
Pattern Dance 2 (x.5) Score +
Free Dance Score = Total Competition Score

EXCELLENT 290 200 210 180
VERY GOOD 250-289 180-199 185-209 165-179
GOOD 210-249 160-179 170-184 150-164