So you’ve taken the SSAT and received your score report, but what does everything mean? The SSAT score report has two primary measures of performance: scaled scores and percentile scores.
On the Elementary level, students receive 1 point for questions answered correctly and 0 points for questions answered incorrectly or left unanswered. On the Middle and Upper levels, students receive 1 point for question answered correctly, lose ¼ of a point for questions answered incorrectly, and receive 0 points for questions left unanswered.
The raw score, which is the number of correct answer points minus incorrect answer points, is converted into a scaled score. The raw score is converted into a scaled score to adjust for the variation in difficulty between different tests. Scaled scores are important because one test form may be slightly more difficult or easier than another test form. The scaled score holds true across all tests, so a 500 on one test is equal to getting a 500 on another test.
Students receive a scaled score for each of the three scored sections: Verbal, Reading, and Quantitative. The total scaled score is the sum of these section scores. Scaled scores differ across levels. The scaled score range indicates the range of scores you might be able to achieve depending on the day and test.
Although scaled scores receive a great deal of attention, the percentile is a much better measure of how a student performed on the SSAT. Percentiles indicate how well a student did compared to other students in the same grade who have taken the SSAT in the last 3 years. For example, if a student scores in the 70th percentile, then that means they scored better than 70% of students in their grade level.
What is a good percentile?
The answer really depends on the school. The scores schools typically accept vary from school to school, so the best way to analyze scores is in the context of your target schools. It's important to keep in mind that test scores are just one part of the application.
Get started with your SSAT prep today!
Originally posted on October 8, 2017. Updated on September 10, 2020.