Test Percentile Scores in Education

What is a Percentile Score?
What is a Percentile Score?. What is a Percentile Score - Getty

Test percentile scores are just one type of test scores you will find on your child's testing reports. Many test reports include several types of scores. Percentile scores are almost always reported on major achievement tests that are taken by your child's entire class. Percentile scores will also be found on individual diagnostic test reports. Understanding test percentile scores are important for you to make decisions about your child's special education program.


Test Percentile Scores Used in Assessments

Test percentile scores commonly reported on most standardized assessments a child takes in school. Percentile literally means per hundred. Percentile scores on teacher-made tests and homework assignments are developed by dividing the student's raw score on her work by the total number of points possible. Converting decimal scores to percentiles is easy. The number is converted by moving the decimal point two places to the right and adding a percent sign. A score of .98 would equal 98%.

Test percentiles on a commercially produced, norm-referenced or standardized test, are calculated in much the same way, although the calculations are typically included in test manuals or calculated with scoring software.

If a student scores at the 75th percentile on a norm-referenced test, it can be said that she has scored at least as well, or better than, 75 percent of students her age from the normative sample of the test.

Several other types of standard scores may also appear on test reports.

Also Known As: test percentage scores, test percentile rank

Alternate Spellings: %ile, percentile scores, ranking, percentage scores

Examples: On many tests that are nationally norm-referenced intelligence tests, a standard score of 100 is equal to the 50th percentile.

Students scoring at this level on the test are well within the average range.

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