So, you took the SSAT test and have been waiting patiently for that all-important SSAT score report. You finally got it and now have a list of numbers, but what do they all mean? We’re here to help you understand what the SSAT score report tells you and what it means for you! The SSAT is just one part of the overall admissions process for private and independent schools. It is also important to remember that this is, by definition, a very competitive academic group. Student SSAT scores are compared to a group of testers in what the EMA calls the “Norm Group”. This group is the comprised of the first-time test takers of the same grade and gender over the past three years in the United States and Canada. Although multiple test takers, flex-test takers and international students are not included in the “norm group”, they are still judged against the “norm group”. Finally, SSAT score reports are typically sent out within two weeks of taking the test, unless you are receiving a paper report which could take a week longer.
Calculating SSAT Scores and Equating
Scores are calculated using a “raw” score. This is determined by the EMA using a formula that subtracts a percentage of the number of wrong answers from the number of correct answers. On the Middle and Upper Levels of the SSAT one point is gained for each correct answer, ¼ of a point is lost for each wrong answer and no points are gained or lost for each question left unanswered. The Elementary Level SSAT has no wrong answer penalty.
The EMA uses a process they call “Equating” to ensure that all scores on different test forms can be comparable. The EMA does not provide a lot of detail on how this is calculated, only that they use a “statistical procedure…to adjust scores to compensate for minor form difficulty differences so that scores on different test forms are comparable.”
Reading the SSAT Score Report
The SSAT measures students’ ability in three main areas: Reading, Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning. The report shows you the following information (with the exception of the Elementary Level, which may not contain all elements):
- This section just reflects the personal information that was entered when a student was registered for the test. It is important to make sure this information is accurate, especially the name and birthdate, as this is what schools will see and look to match.
- This simply states which test you took: Elementary Level for students in grades 3 and 4, Middle Level for students in grades 5-7, and Upper Level for students in grades 8-11.
- Your SSAT score report will show the student’s scaled score for each section and total score for the overall test.
- Each level of the SSAT has a different scaled score range. The Elementary Level SSAT has a scaled score range of 300-600 per each section of the test. The midpoint of this scale would be 450 for each section. The Middle Level SSAT has a scaled score range of 440-710 per each section. The midpoint scaled score of each section would be 575. The Upper Level SSAT has a scaled score range of 500-800 per each section. The midpoint scaled score of each section would be 650.
- The section titled “Scaled Score Range” provides an estimate of a student’s potential SSAT score should they take the test again. According to the EMA, a retest would likely score in the scaled range indicated here.
- The SSAT Reference information gives multiple points of comparison for students’ scores. The most common reference, the SSAT Percentile, compares students’ performance on a scale of 1 to 99 against the “norm group”. The report shows the average score for each norm group for each section of the test. The groups include the student’s grade and gender.
- This final section offers the only detailed information about correct, wrong and unanswered questions. It shows students how many of each they had, which is very important to the overall strategy of taking the SSAT.
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