Why Our Paper Tests Don’t Come With Answer Keys

  • Posted By: Test Innovators
  • April 21, 2020

In this post, we answer the following question:

I just completed a Test Innovators test on paper. Where is the answer key to score my test?

The simple answer to this question is that raw scores are not useful and are often ambiguous. When you score a paper test with an answer key, you only get a raw score. A raw score (say, 30 out of 40 correct) and its equivalent percent correct (75%) are very misleading measures for normative tests like the SSAT and ISEE.

Normative tests provide scores as percentiles, so it’s important to analyze your practice test scores as percentiles too. Percentile scores measure the percentage of same-grade students whose scores were lower than yours. For example, scoring in the 55th percentile means you scored better than 55% of students in the same grade.

Percentile scores are especially important when it comes to tests like the SSAT and ISEE, where the exact same test is taken by students in a range of grades. For instance, the Upper Level SSAT and ISEE are taken by students applying to grades 9 through 12, and the tests are designed to challenge students in all of those grades. Questions that are challenging for 11th graders will be extremely difficult for most 8th graders. As a result, an 11th grader with a 75%-correct raw score will nearly always receive a lower percentile than an 8th grader with a 75%-correct raw score.

Because it is so important to understand your practice test scores as percentiles and stanines, our online scoring system gives you normative measures, just like the official SSAT and ISEE. When you input your answers into the online system, either by taking the test online or after taking the test on paper, you immediately receive a percentile and (if you’re taking the ISEE) a stanine score, which are derived from the data we’ve collected from over 135,000 students. Our online scoring system provides a realistic analysis of your practice test performance, so you know exactly where you stand.

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