Sharing test results such as ability and aptitude scores is a key part of using psychometric assessments. Effectively explaining how someone did on an ability or aptitude test can be as much of an art as a skill. It can be difficult to come up with language that communicates scores precisely and sensitively. Here are some of the secrets to explaining scores in a way that is accurate and meaningful to test takers.
Standardized Scoring of Aptitude and Ability Tests
The goal of test feedback is to present scores so they are meaningful to the audience. If you are putting together results for a company making selection decisions, it may be acceptable to assemble a summary of results as “standardized score” numbers. For an oral feedback discussion with a test taker however, you will need to explain what results mean without using numbers or statistical terms.
Results of psychometric ability and aptitude scores are typically transferred from a count of number correct to a form of standardized scores. This means that a person’s test performance is determined by considering how others have previously scored on the measure. For example, results might be interpreted in relation to scores from a group of 550 managers/professionals, or 2000 members of a general working population.
There are many different types of standardized scores. Examples include percentiles, t-scores, and stens (standardized tens). Regardless of the form used, the scores are plotted along a bell-shaped or normal curve. The value of a standardized score indicates where it is located along a normal distribution curve.
The psychometric testing professional is faced with the task of explaining test scores in their standardized format, taking into account the performance of a comparison group. This can be challenging.
Communicating Aptitude and Ability Scores
Below you’ll find some suggested wording to use when communicating aptitude and ability test scores. Different levels of performance are provided, along with example ranges of a few common standardized scores.
Always communicate standardized test scores by referring to the comparison group used to evaluate performance. Explain that results reflect the person’s responses to one test at just one point in time. No assessment is perfect, and many factors influence assessment scores.
The language of test scores is just one consideration in developing effective feedback. You can find out more about how to share test results here.