Scaled score? Raw score? Percentile? What does it all mean?
The Raw Score:
Each correct answer is worth one point. Each incorrect answer subtracts one quarter of a point. Questions that are left blank (omitted), do not count for or against a score. A student’s raw score is calculated by subtracting the penalty points from the correct answer points. This raw score is used to calculate the scaled score.
The Scaled Score:
For the Middle Level, it ranges from 440-710. For the Upper Level, it ranges from 500-800. Scaled scores are used so that students’ scores can be compared fairly, even if they wrote a different version of the test. Even though the test-makers try to make each test as similar in difficulty as possible, when they compare the results of thousands of students, there are always small differences. For example, it may have been a little easier to get 20 questions right on the math section of the October test than the November test. When this is the case, based on thousands of students data, it means that the raw scores will be converted (or “equated”) to a scaled score, based on data from test writers. A student who wrote the slightly higher October test would receive a slightly lower scaled score than someone with the same raw score who wrote the November test.
Percentile: This is different from what students are used to seeing, which is a percentage. Where a percentage is only related to the number of questions correct out of the total number of questions, a percentile compares one score to other scores. If you imagine 100 test writers lining up in a row from lowest score to highest score, the person who is at the 30th percentile has a score that’s higher than 29 other people, and a score that’s lower than 69 other people. In that sense, even though students may be at the 50th percentile, it doesn’t mean that they only answered 50% of the questions correctly, it means that of all the test writers over the last few years, their score is in the middle of the lineup when compared to people the same age and gender.