ISEE Scoring

When we have to take admission into an educational institution, we make checks about the teaching practices and standards prevalent there. We keep in mind that our future depends on the kind of education we receive. Before investing a single penny, we ascertain that we are making the right choice by gaining as much information about the school as possible. In a similar manner, the schools also need to know how we can help them maintain their standards. They have to judge our capabilities before they admit us and put in efforts for providing us the best that they can. For making this judgment they have to rely on records of our previous performances. However, such records suffer from the handicap of being biased. To do away with this handicap, the scores of ISEE prove to be very useful. Schools ask for ISEE scores of applicants for estimating how well prepared they are to take on the challenging tasks provided by them.
Salient Features of ISEE Scoring
Your response sheets are machine scored at the ISEE Operations

Office. You can send your Individual Score Report to six schools or counselors which is received by them within 10 business days. One copy is sent to the parents of the applicant as well.
Only the multiple-choice test sections are scored; the essay writing section is not scored. A copy of your essay is sent to schools instead. This means that you will have to write an impressive essay as it could be the reason behind the selection of one out of two equally capable candidates.
You can also inquire about the score online or through telephone on payment of an extra fee. Additional score reports can also be sent to schools for extra payments. You can get your response sheet scored by hand for extra charges.
You also have the option of getting your response sheet rescored at a grade level one below the actual placement level. This facility is useful in case you have to repeat a class. However, you cannot use this facility for entering grade 4. Besides, you cannot use this facility for admission into a grade that is not in the level you tested for. In other words, you cannot test for upper level and ask for rescoring to seek admission in grade 8.
You are allowed to take the test only once in a six month period. Hence, you will be allowed to reappear for ISEE once in six months only. This means that you should prepare well enough the first time around so that the need for a retest does not arise as that might lead to wasting an academic session.
ISEE Score Report and its Utility
The ISEE score report is very elaborate and hence valuable. Let us take a look at the score report of ISEE and the purpose that each detail mentioned serves. The score report is divided into three parts:

  • Student Information
  • Test Profile
  • Achievement Analysis
  1. Student Information: The Student Information portion of the score report contains personal information about the student along with his grade, date of testing and test level taken.

Utility: This part helps gain immediate information about the student, including his contact details. The date of testing, grade and level of the test taken assists in instant reference.

  1. Test Profile: The Test Profile portion of the score report is divided into three parts: Scaled Scores, Norms for Applicants to Independent Schools and Stanine Analysis.
  1. Scaled Scores: These are reported for each test section that contains multiple-choice questions and range from 760 to 940. The scaled scores help to understand how well a student has performed in each test section. These scores are derived from the raw scores in the test sections. The scaled scores equate the differences that exist among different administrations of ISEE.

Utility: The purpose of reporting the scaled score instead of the raw score is that the scaled score makes it possible to judge the performance of students across different test forms and test levels on a standard scale. However, this score suffers from the shortcoming of being unable to compare the performance of two students. Hence, we cannot know how capable a student is in comparison with other applicants.

  1. Norm for Applicants to Independent Schools: This portion of the score report contains information that helps us judge how competent a student is in comparison with others. There are two tools used for this comparison: percentile rank and stanine.

Percentile Rank: The percentile rank for each scored test section is represented as a percentage ranging from 1 to 99. The percentile rank stands for the percentage of students in the norm group who scored lesser than or equal to the applicant. The norm group is a sample of students who have applied to independent schools and belong to the same grade as the applicant. If a student obtains a percentile rank of 77, it implies that he scored more than 77 percent of applicants in the norm group.
Utility: The percentile ranks help in estimating where the student stands in comparison with other test takers. It gives an idea of whether the student has been able to beat competition and obtain a score that is above the average.
Stanines: For enhancing interpretation of percentile ranks, stanines are reported for each percentile rank and range from 1 to 9. For a range of percentiles a single stanine is reported and the two are related as described below.
Percentile Rank           Stanine
1-3                               1         
4-10                             2
11-22                           3
23-39                           4
40-59                           5
60-76                           6
77-88                           7
89-95                           8
96-99                           9
Utility: A little difference in the percentile ranks need not mean a significant difference in the abilities across different test sections. The stanine scores help to make comparisons more meaningful. For instance, a stanine score of 5 in one test section and a stanine score of 6 in the other implies that the performance of the student in the two test sections is comparable, irrespective of the difference in the percentile ranks.

  1. Stanine Analysis: This part of the score report contains comparisons among different stanine scores. The comparison is represented in a pictorial form with the help of bands. Overlaps among bands signify stability in performance.

Utility: This analysis aids in quick interpretation of stanines. Two stanines within one point of each other show comparable ability levels. For instance, a stanine 5 in the verbal reasoning section shows similar ability level as is shown by a stanine 6 in the reading comprehension section. It shows how consistently the student has performed across different test sections.

  1. Achievement Analysis: The Achievement Analysis portion of the score report contains five columns. The first lists the different tests and the subsections of each. The second contains the number of questions corresponding to each subsection of a test. The third column contains the number of questions answered correctly in the subsection. The fourth column represents the Results for Each Question. Four symbols +, -, S and N are used to show that the question has been answered correctly, incorrectly, skipped or not reached by the candidate respectively. The last column contains Stanine Analysis. This portion contains a pictorial representation of stanines for each subsection.

Utility: This portion of the score report gives a detailed account of the student’s performance. The information about questions answered correctly in each subsection makes it easy to pinpoint which skills the student lacks and which he is adept in. His weak areas and his strong areas of study are clearly demarked in this analysis. Besides, the stanine analysis gives a fair idea of how steady his performance has been across different subsections of a test.
Preparation is the Key
Thomas Edison has famously said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. This is what one needs to be wary of. You should not think of ISEE as a laborious task, rather think of it as an opportunity. Keeping a healthy attitude towards ISEE shall help you take on the challenge in your stride. Getting into a good educational institution is the desire of any ambitious student. The earlier you can enter into a reputed institution, the better are your chances of becoming professionally successful. It helps you nurture your talents, learn new skills, overcome your weaknesses and build on your strengths for shaping a future according to your aspirations.

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