Standardised Scores: About

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.

For a look at the pros and cons of using standardised tests, see James Pembroke's writeup here.
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.

For more on the difference, we recommend Michael Tidd's article: Standardised and Scaled Scores

Evaluation of Standardised Scores

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

Standardised Score range


Insight Evaluation


Well below average



Below average



Low average






High average



Above average


These thresholds can be customised for your school. James Pembroke (data analyst guru) has written about the thinking behind this breakdown in his article: Using standardised scores in progress matrices

Note that on most of Insight's cohort and analysis reports, standardised scores will be grouped according to their evaluation, rather than the score ranges above. For a more detailed breakdown by range, you can use the Progress Matrix report or the advanced options on the Overviews - Attainment report.

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 national sample (not within each school) 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.

Percentile Ranks

On request (contact support) Insight can automatically calculate a pupil's Percentile Rank based on their Standardised Score, and show this in brackets, eg: 101 (53%)

This 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.

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