Mark Schemes: Standardised Scores

Updated 4 hours ago by Kelly Venables

You can use the Standardised Scores mark scheme to record standardised test results from any test provider, including NFER, Rising Stars, GL Assessment, Renaissance, etc. Standardised scores are more easily comparable over time and between subjects than raw scores and other test data, so we usually recommend storing these for analysis in Insight where available.

Insight will automatically calculate a pupil's Percentile Rank based on their Standardised Score, and shows this in brackets, eg:

101 (53%)

Entering Standardised Scores

Whether you're entering data for a group via the Enter Data page, or entering data directly onto a pupil's report page, you can select the Standardised Scores mark scheme to enter your scores:

Scaled Scores, including SAT Scaled Scores, are calculated differently from Standardised Scores and should be recorded using a different mark scheme. Please refer to SAT Scaled Scores for more information.

When you're entering your data, you can enter standardised scores as whole numbers, for example 94 or 105. Insight will calculate the percentile rank for each score - you don't have to enter this.

Evaluation of Standardised Scores

By default, Insight evaluates Standardised Scores using the following thresholds:

Standardised ScoreEvaluation
<85Below
85-115Expected
>115Above

We've set these thresholds because test scores are standardised in such a way that roughly two thirds of pupils achieve a score between 85 and 115.

These thresholds can be customised for your school. 

James Pembroke (data analyst guru) has some suggestions on why and how you might break this down further in his article: Using standardised scores in progress matrices

Rising Stars have offered specific guidance on this for PUMA and PIRA, which put the expected range at 94-114.

More Information on Standardised Scores

'Raw' test scores are often standardised in such a way that:

  • The average score is 100, making it easy to compare a pupil's performance against the average performance or against the same pupil's performance in other tests. This also means that standardised scores for groups (such as classes or schools) can be meaningfully averaged and compared. This means, for example, that you can compare the performance of your school against national averages, or of your boys against your girls across your whole school.
  • The spread of scores (the standard deviation) is -/+ 15, meaning that roughly two thirds of pupils in the sample will achieve a score between 85 and 115. Scores outside this range are usually considered exception: roughly 95% of pupils achieve a score between 70 and 130, and roughly 99% achieve a score between 60 and 140.
  • Test scores are usually also adjusted so that the resulting standardised scores make allowances for the differences in pupils' ages (sometimes called an Age Standardised Score, or Standard Age Score)
Do beware of comparing average standardised scores for small groups: "an averaged score from a just a few pupils is not a reliable indicator." Source, p.1-2.

More Information on Percentile Ranks

Insight automatically calculates a pupil's Percentile Rank alongside each Standardised Score,  which is a useful way to see where a pupil sits compared to the average. For example a pupil who has a Percentile Rank of 50% performed at the same level or better than 50% of the sample group.

If you'd rather not see Percentile Ranks in Insight, just let us know and we'll turn them off.

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