IPT Scores and Score Interpretation

Scores from tests and assessments allow educators to draw inferences and make decisions about students' knowledge, skills, and abilities. Different scores are suited for different types of inferences and decisions. The IPT reports both norm-referenced and criterion-referenced scores in order to serve the range of needs that school administrators, teachers, parents, and students have.

Norm-referenced scores interpret a student's performance on a test in relation to a norming group – a group of peers. In the case of the IPT English tests, the norming groups are composed of English learners in specific grades or narrow grade bands. In the case of the IPT Spanish tests, the norming groups are composed of both Spanish learners and of native and heritage Spanish speakers whose school districts require that English learners also be tested in their home language whenever possible. Norm-referenced scores are useful for comparing students with their peers, selecting the top (or bottom) X percent of students for certain educational programs, or for ranking students. Sometimes administrative systems require norm-referenced scores such as percentiles for record-keeping in district or state data systems.

Criterion-referenced scores interpret a student's performance in relation to pre-defined criteria such as skill level or proficiency level definitions. These scores are often used for evaluating students’ mastery of knowledge or skills, for example to identify students as English learners or English proficient, to place them in appropriate classes or levels of support, or to make decisions about program entry or exit.

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