Understanding Psychometric Test Scoring and Results

Ever sat a psychometric test, received your results telling you have passed or failed, or scored 64 and wondered what it is telling you? In this article we will explore psychometric scoring and how to understand what the score on the page really says.
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This article will discuss what the numbers show, how quickly results are produced, and an understanding of what a good score is.

Your score

The raw score is the sum of all your correct responses. So, if you got 7 answers correct out of 10 questions, your raw score is 7/10. Your percentage will be the number of answers you got correct against all the questions, in this case 70%.

The attempted figure relates to the number of questions you attempted to answer. For example, if the test has 10 questions but you only answered 8 of them, your attempted figure will be 8/10. The percentage items attempted is the percentage of questions attempted against all the questions, in this case, 80%.

The percentage accuracy is the number of questions you've got right against the number of questions you attempted to answer. Using the figures above, 7 answers were correct out of 8 attempted answers, or 88%.

Scorecard showing percentile scores for Speed vs Accuracy test from Saville Swift Analysis Assessment Report.

Scorecard showing percentile scores for Speed vs Accuracy test from Saville Swift Analysis Assessment Report.

Source: Saville Consulting - Swift Analysis Assessment Report, Sample Candidate

Comparison scores

The raw score above tells employers little, they want to know about how you perform against others, and get a picture of how good your score really is. Standardised tests allow easy comparison between candidates. To create a comparison score the individual’s score is benchmarked against a cohort (or normative group) of candidates sitting the same test, who all have similar education, job level or other circumstances.

The following terms describe how they work out standardised scores that can be easily compared.

The percentile score shows how many people who sat the same test scored less than you. For example if your percentile score is at the 66th percentile, 66% of the people who sat the tests scored less than you. Your number of correct answers is compared to the benchmark for a cohort in the same industry at the same level. This is the most commonly used result.

A percentile score card could look like this.

Example of a Talent Q percentile score card.

Source: Talent Q Group - Talent Q Elements Report Ali Example 11/06/2013

The precision score is a measure of speed and accuracy, i.e. how many of the attempted questions you got right and how quickly you answered these questions. The score gives you three pieces of information: number attempted, work rate (number attempted against the total number of questions in the test), and hit rate (the total number of questions answered correctly divided by the number attempted).

The standard error of measurement (SE m) is a measure of the range of results you would have if you sat the same test repeatedly.

The T score is another standardised measurement of your score. In the T score, the average score is 50, and the standard deviation is 10, and the score shows how many standard deviations your result is from the mean. So for example if your T score is 60, it is one standard deviation above the norm. Two thirds of all people in the set measured will have a T score between 40 and 60.

The STANINE score is a standardised scale for your results. STANINE stands for standard nine, and the scale is a nine point scale, where 7,8,9 are above average, 4,5,6 are average, and 1,2,3 are below average. The median score is 5, so if you have a score above or below, it will tell you where you have come relative to the others on the same scale. A standard deviation shows how far the results are spread out from the mean.

Psytech results chart for Verbal General Reasoning test showing raw score, attempted score, STANINE, T Score and percentile. Also shown is the accuracy score.

Psytech results chart for Verbal General Reasoning test showing raw score, attempted score, STANINE, T Score and percentile. Also shown is the accuracy score.

Source: Psytech.com Sam Sample 27 March 2013 Expert Standard Report

How long should I wait for psychometric test results?

The beauty of taking psychometric tests online is that the results are available immediately. The results will go to the employer first who will then have their own procedure in place for notifying you of the results.

What is a good score in a psychometric test? What is the pass rate for psychometric tests?

There is no clear definition of what is a good score in a psychometric test. Employers will set the pass score according to their own requirements. This pass score could also differ between tests and job levels.

The reason why employers place emphasis on percentile scores is that they want to know how your score compares with other people sitting the same test. It may look as though your raw score of 75% is a good result, but if it only places you in the 50th percentile, meaning that 50% of people sitting the test scored higher than you, the score no longer looks so strong.

Furthermore, different jobs require different combinations of skills. An employer may choose to have candidates sit the whole range of tests, but only require a pass score of 40% for numerical and a much higher 70% for verbal if they feel that verbal comprehension skills are more necessary for the job.

It is unlikely that the employer will give you this information in advance, but it is important that you prepare for these tests to improve your position against your cohort.

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