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Percentile Ranks

  • By: Nona Tollefson
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Percentile ranks are a commonly used form of norm-referenced score transformation. They are reported for most ability, aptitude, and achievement tests as well as for attitude, personality, and interest inventories.

Percentile ranks are expressed as whole-number values that range between 1 and 99 to indicate the position or rank of the respondent's score in a reference group of test takers. For example, if 100 individuals completed a test, a percentile rank of 40 would indicate that the respondent's score was equal to or higher than 40 of the 100 individuals in the norm group. In the case of nationally standardized tests with larger norm groups, a percentile rank of 40 would indicate that the respondent had earned a score equal to or higher than 40% of ...

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