My children did well on their standardized tests, and I really don't think much of them to begin with, however, I got a bit confused and am hoping that someone will enlighten me.
Example 1: Maya got all the problems right on a section of her test. However, her percentile was 95th. I thought that it would be 99th since nothing was missed (and I do understand how percentile differs from percent!)
Example 2: Anna missed one on a particular section of her test. That brought her percentile down to 86th. That seems like such a drop for just one missed problem. Perhaps it was weighted more? I don't know.
Those examples are from the CATe survey test.
On Kayla's test, she missed 8 on her math section (out of 40) and was in the 95th percentile. However, her test (the PASS test) first does placement levels. Since she is strong in math, her math test was a higher level to begin with. So, that makes sense. On the other hand, she is weak in language skills and uses a lower level test. She got a good percentage correct, but since it was a lower level test, her percentile ranking was lower. That makes sense to me as well.
I am just confused about the CAT test above. If missing one brings you down to an 86th percentile, perhaps the test isn't hard enought for 8th graders. Maybe everyone scores well?
Can anyone shed light on this for me?
It's because the CAT has been around for so long, and so many kids have taken it. Even if you get everything right, if 95 or 99% of the other people taking the test did too, you won't get a higher percentile ranking as a result of it. It's called something like the "test ceiling" I believe. With gifted and talented kids especially, many people recommend taking a test like PASS with more levels, or a higher level of CAT scored to match the child's grade (IE- a third grader taking a fourth grade CAT will be normed against other 3rd graders taking that test; not against the fourth graders) if you want a better picture of the child's true ability on that test.
Book loving, editor mom to 2
Interesting. Test ceiling is a new phrase for me. Thanks. Also, I didn't know that if I ordered up on the CAT that they would be compared to others within their own grade level. I just assumed that if I ordered up, they would be compared against the designated grade level. I will give my oldest the choice--she really doesn't like that the tests are so simple. She likes to take them and prefers a bit of a challenge. Thanks.