Percentages, averages, grade-level norms, specific performance requirements, and raw scores are used in various standardized test scoring methods. The majority of standardized tests use multiple choice questions that must be answered within a certain amount of time. A computer program is usually used to evaluate and score them. More than one method is used in some standardized test scoring.
The use of a raw score is one of the most common methods of standardized test scoring. This is done subtracting the number of questions that were answered incorrectly from the total number of questions on the test. The raw score is directly proportional to the number of questions correctly answered the test taker.
Another standardized test scoring method is to convert raw scores into percentages. A certain percentile corresponds to a specific raw score. The number of test takers who scored at or below the corresponding raw score is usually indicated these percentiles. A test taker who receives a raw score of 45 on a section of a standardized test for college admissions may receive an 80 percentile. This is interpreted to mean that only 20% of test takers received a score of 45 or higher.
Another way to score standardized tests is to use averages. This type of score is typically assigned to various subject areas. Test takers who score higher or lower than the national average are given a score that differs from the national average. An example of a standardized test that employs the average method is the IQ test. A score of more than 100 is considered to be above average.
Exams required to enter the majority of graduate degree programs are another example of standardized testing that uses averages. The scoring is based on a 500-point average benchmark. Test takers can only deviate 300 points from the average. The minimum and maximum scores are 200 and 800, respectively.
Averages at the grade level can be expressed as percentiles or numerical values. This method is used to compare a test taker’s results to those of his peers. Standardized tests for an elementary school student, for example, might show a percentage for each test section that indicates how many students in his grade level scored below or above him.
Some standardized tests are graded based on specific performance criteria. A target score can be established, and anything that falls above or below that mark is considered a deviation. It may be determined, for example, that a satisfactory score on an essay exam is equivalent to a three. Essays that are above average will receive a score of four or higher, while those that are below average will receive a score of two or one.