What is a percentile score?

Definition of Percentile

Report graphic conparing 4 year undergraduate performance on the CCTST critical thinking assessment to comparable a sample of students nationwidePercentile scores for individual test takers represent how an individual test taker’s score compares to the scores of other test takers within a particular comparison group. Percentile scores range from the 1st  through 99th percentile, indicating the percentage of scores in the comparison group which are lower than the test taker’s score. For example, if your scores report says that a test taker with a CCTST Reasoning Skills Overall score of 19 is in the 67th percentile, this means that this test taker has tested better than 66% of the test takers compared to an aggregated sample of test takers like themselves. As the test administrator, you choose the comparison group when you make a test assignment for your employees or students.

All Insight Assessment critical thinking skills tests report percentiles.

What is difference between Percentage and Percentile scores

We are often asked the difference between “percentage correct” and “percentile ranking.”  Many who contact us, including occasionally academics with advanced degrees, do not always remember that those two terms have very different meanings.

Definition of Percentage

“Percentage,” of course, is straightforward and well-understood. In assessment it refers to the ratio of correct answers to the total possible number of correct answers.  For example, 20 right out of 25 possible is 80%.

Example explaining what a percentile means

To understand what “percentile” refers to, consider something familiar, like basketball.

Imagine a 7th grade girl who is considered “a really good junior high hoops player.” As compared to other girls at her same grade level who also play basketball, we might describe her high quality playing as “better than 90 out of 100”.  That puts her at the 90th percentile in that comparison group.

But if we change the comparison group, that “top 10 percent” comparison will not apply.  The girl may be “better than only 5 out of 100” tenth-grade-girls-who-play-junior-varsity-basketball.  Now, instead of being at the 90th percentile, she is at the 5th percentile.  Nothing about her basketball skills has changed.  She is just as good a hoops player as ever.  If she could make 55% of her free throws before the comparison, she still can make 55%.  But, because percentiles are relative to the comparison group, her percentile has changed.

Or, better said, her percentile as compared to one group is simply different than her percentile as compared to another group.

Why are norm-referenced scores important?

Insight Assessment Critical Thinking Skills Percentile Scores

Insight Assessment offers a comprehensive array of validated critical thinking skills tests. Our tests are used by businesses, health care organizations, military and government clients, science and engineering professionals, legal professionals, and educators at every level K through post-graduate.

Individual and group scores are provided for all Insight Assessment test takers. Percentiles are reported for  critical thinking skills test instruments. The reports for each Insight Assessment test instrument provide scores that can be benchmarked against a variety of external norms so that our clients are able to evaluate the scores of individual test takers or of their entire group.

Contact us.  Our test consultants will help you determine the assessment that will provide the data you need to meet your goals.

Data included in Insight Assessment  reports and analytics.

More information about norms and comparison groups.

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