We try to write all our reports in a way that is easily understood. But inevitably there may be some technical terms or you may have received a report from another psychologist and you don't understand it or you have some questions.
The best person to answer any questions about the report is the person who wrote it.
Below we have tried to explain any technical terms and have given some additional information that may be helpful in understanding the report more fully.
If you are interested in receiving a qualification in psychometric testing, we are running courses leading to the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (Level A)
Psychological reports usually come in three parts.
The results of most psychological tests used in the second section are usually reported using either standard scores or percentiles. Both standard scores and percentiles describe how a student performed on a test compared to a representative sample of other students of the same age.
What are standard scores?
Most educational and psychological tests provide standard scores that are based on a scale that has a statistical mean (or average score) of 100. The average range extends from below to above this mean - from low average to high average. Most people (68% of the general population) achieve standard scores on educational and psychological tests that fall within the range of 85–115.
What are subtest scores?
Many psychological tests are composed of multiple subtests. Subtests are relatively short tests that measure specific abilities, such as vocabulary, general knowledge or short-term auditory memory. Two or more subtest scores that reflect different aspects of the same broad ability (such as broad Verbal Ability) may be combined into a composite or index score. For example the subtest scores from Vocabulary, Comprehension, and a General Information subtest score (the three subtest scores that reflect different aspects of Verbal Ability) may be combined to form a broad Verbal Comprehension Index score.
Composite scores, such as IQ scores, Index scores, and Cluster scores, all have a mean of 100.
What are Percentiles?
Standard scores may also be reported with a percentile to aid in understanding performance. A percentile indicates the percentage of individuals in the norm group that scored below a particular score. For example, if a child achieved a percentile score of 52 on a test, it means that 52 percent of the pupils in the same age group would be expected to score at or below the same level on the test.
What does 'Confidence Interval' mean?
Scores on tests are not exact. Test performance can be affected by such factors as anxiety, inattention, fatigue, depressed mood, uncooperativeness or just a simple cold. If the test were given on another day, the score might be slightly different. Because of this, standard scores are often reported with confidence intervals. These indicate the range of scores within which one can be reasonably confident the true score lies.
But how confident is reasonably confident? Most confidence intervals are set at 95%, meaning that a students true score is likely to fall between the upper and lower limits of the confidence interval 95 out of 100 times (or 95% of the time).
For example, if a student earned a standard score of 90 this may be reported in the psychological report as 90 ±5 or 90 (85 – 95). This indicates that although the students score on the day of the evaluation was 90 , the true score may be lower or higher than 90 but one can be confident that it will be between 85 and 95. Or, more accurately, there is a 95% chance that the students true performance on this test falls somewhere between 85 and 95.
Tests vary in their reliability. Those that are highly reliable have relatively small confidence bands associated with their scores, indicating that these tests provide the most consistent scores across time.
Age equivalents are scores that indicate the typical age of students who obtain a given score. For example, if John's performance on a test of reading comprehension was equal to an age equivalent of 9.3 years, this means that he got the same number of items correct as an average 9 year 3 month old child in the norm group on that particular reading comprehension test.
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