Interpreting the Score: Raw Scores: A raw score is the number of items answered correctly on a given test. Raw scores by themselves have little or no meaning. A child’s Raw Score (number correct) is compared to the original group of students of the same age who first took the test. The averages of this original group are called the “Norms”. Norm referred test scores compare a child’s raw score to the norm group. Next, a child’s raw scores are converted into scaled scores, grade equivalents, percentiles and stanines.
Scaled Score: A scaled score is a mathematical transformation of a raw score. Scaled scores are useful when comparing test results over time. Most standardized achievement test batteries provide scaled scores for such purposes. Several different methods of scaling exist, but each is intended to provide a continuous score scale across the different forms and levels of a test series.
Grade-Equivalent: This is the most commonly misunderstood term in interpreting test scores. The first digit represents the year of the grade level and the digit after the decimal represents the month of that grade level. If a 2nd grader gets a 5.4, it does not mean the child is ready for the 5th grade. It just means that an average 5th grader would have scored as well on the same test. It also lets you know the 2nd grader mastered the material very well and answered most of the questions correctly.
Percentile: This score ranks individuals within a group on a scale of 1-99 with 50 being average. There isn’t a 100th percentile because a child can’t do better than himself. A percentile rank of 75 means the student scored better than 75 percent of the other students in his or her norm group, and 25 percent scored as well or better than your student. It does not mean the student got 75% of the items correct. Percentile does not refer to the percent of questions that were answered correctly. Stanine: This term comes from the combination of the words “standard of nine”. It rates a child’s achievement on a scale of 1-9 based on a coarse grouping of the scores. In general, a stanine of 1, 2 or 3 indicates below average achievement. A stanine of 4, 5 or 6 indicates average achievement, while 7, 8 or 9 indicate above average.
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