Skip to Content Bruce Rauner, Governor, State of Illinois

State Scholar Selection Process

{ISAC Rules, Section 2760.20}

The State Scholar formula calculation uses a combination of the ACT/SAT test scores, class rank (if the school ranks) or the unweighted GPA (if the school does not rank), and class size.

High schools submit the academic data from the end of a student’s sixth semester to ISAC via the GAP Access portal.  The Required Sixth Semester Data page includes details about the required data and the electronic options to submit the data to ISAC.  

A student must take either the ACT or SAT exam during the student’s third or fourth semester prior to high school graduation (typically the junior year). The designated period for a 2019-20 Scholar to have taken the ACT or SAT exam was between August 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

A student may take either or both examinations during the designated period. All scores from the ACT or SAT exam taken during the designated period must be submitted to ISAC.  Scores are sent to ISAC by the testing companies in August of each year. If a student submits scores from more than one College Entrance Examination taken during the designated period, ISAC will use the highest of the scores. ISAC will accept supplementary score reports of exams taken between August 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, upon the student’s authorization to the test service.

The formula used in the selection of Illinois State Scholars is as follows:

  1. Test scores are converted to an Illinois Standard Test Score (ISTS) as follows:
    • The SAT Reasoning Test: Evidence Based Reading & Writing Section Score + Math Section Score are added together and converted to the equivalent ACT Score. Refer to the official ACT-SAT Concordance Table 7 to obtain the converted equivalent ACT Score.
  2. High school class ranks are converted to an Illinois Standard Rank Score (ISRS)
    • The percentile of the class rank for each student is determined: 

      Percentile = Size of class MINUS (rank in class minus .5) divided by Class Size
      • The table below is used to convert a percentile class rank to the ISRS.

        Percentile ISRS 
        99.75 - 99.99 30 
        99.54 - 99.74 29
        99.19 - 99.53  28
        98.62 - 99.18 27
        97.73 - 98.61  26
        96.42 - 97.72  25
        94.53 - 96.41  24
        91.93 - 94.52  23
        88.50 - 91.92 22
        84.14 - 88.49 21
        78.82 - 84.13 20
        72.58 - 78.81 19
        65.55 - 72.57 18
        57.94 - 65.54 17
        50.00 - 57.93 16
  3. An Illinois Weighted Selection Score (WSS) for each student is computed by adding the Illinois Standard Test Score to the Illinois Standard Rank Score.
    • Example:

      Illinois Standard Test Score (ISTS) = 24 (from #1)
      Illinois Standard Rank Score (ISRS)= 24 (from #2)

      24 + 24 = WSS of 48

      Students with an ISTS at or above the top 95% on a college exam, and who meet all other eligibility requirements, are automatically designated as State Scholars. Students with an ISTS lower than the top 95% but who have a WSS greater than or equal to the cutoff score are also designated as State Scholars. The WSS and the 95th percentile cutoffs on a college exam are established annually.
  4. In any academic year, approximately 10% of all Illinois high school graduates are named State Scholars. A WSS cutoff is determined by ISAC each year in order to yield this result.

    The ISTS and the WSS used in the determination of 2019-20 State Scholars will be announced in November, 2018.