## Understanding test scores

**WHAT ARE STANINE SCORES?**

Stanine is short for standard nine. The name comes from the fact that stanine scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 9. For instance, a stanine score of

1, 2, or 3 is below average

4, 5, or 6 is average

7, 8, or 9 is above average

If a child achieved a stanine score that was below average in a particular area, the test revealed an area in which the child needs improvement. If the child achieved an average stanine score, the test indicated that he or she performed at about the same level as other students who took the test. If the child achieved a stanine score that is above average, the test results mean that he or she performed better in that area than other students who took the test.

**WHAT ARE PERCENTILE SCORES?**

In contrast to stanines, percentiles give parents a more detailed description of how their children compare with other students who took the test by showing scores that range from 1 to 99.

For example, if a student scored in the 66th percentile on a test, that student achieved a score that is higher than 66% of the other students who took the test. So, if 1,000 students took the test, the student in the 66th percentile scored higher than 660 students.

Do not confuse percentile scores with percentage correct scores. Percentile scores allow you to compare one student's scores with a group of students who took the test. Percentage correct scores simply reveal the number of items that a student answered correctly out of the total number of items.

**WHAT ARE GRADE-LEVEL EQUIVALENT SCORES?**

Grade-level equivalent scores are determined by giving a test that is developed for a particular grade to students in other grades. For instance, test designers establish grade-equivalents for a 4th grade test by giving that same test to students who are in the 6th and the 2nd grades.

Grade-level equivalent scores are often misunderstood; be careful when you interpret them with parents. If a 4th grader received a 7th grade equivalent score on a 4th grade reading achievement test, the parents may believe their child is ready for 7th grade material. Actually, the score means that the child reads 4th grade material as well as the average 7th grader.

__Here's some additional information on test scores:__

MAP: How to interpret RIT Charts

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