ISEE Test Scores

The Scoring Pattern of ISEE

The ISEE entrance test for independent school admissions in the U.S is administered by an educational institution called the ERB. Apart from the ISEE testing pattern and its other aspects, any student appearing for this test must understand how the ISEE test scores are calculated, reported and interpreted. This article intends to provide a elaborate description of the ISEE scoring patterns and rules through simple but important FAQs.

  1. How are the ISEE Test Scores Calculated?

    At all levels of the ISEE test; namely, lower, middle and upper levels, the ISEE test scores are calculated using the same methods. You may already be aware of the fact that all the sections of the ISEE test, with the exception of the Essay section, consist of multiple-choice questions only. These sections from the answer sheets are scanned and the number of correct answers is electronically counted to arrive at respective raw scores. No negative points are awarded for the questions that are incorrect or were omitted. The raw scores of all the test sections are summed up and converted to a scaled score, which usually ranges between 760 and 940. This scaled score represents the final ISEE test scores for a student.

    Apart from this, the ERB has a system of maintaining a rolling 3-year norm group, which is nothing but a database of the scaled scores of all students (boys and girls) who have taken this test in the last 3 years from any given date. A percentile ranking (1-99th percentile) for a particular student is then arrived at by comparing his or her scaled score against this norm group. For example, a percentile rank of 80% means that the student has performed equally or better than 80% of the students in his peer norm-group.

  2. How are ISEE Test Scores Reported?

    The ISEE test scores are reported in a document called the Individual Student Report (ISR). The ISR comprises of 2 sections; namely, Test Profile and Analysis section. The Test Profile is a summary of the scores which includes the ISEE final scaled score, percentile and "stanine" rankings of the student. A "stanine" ranking is a concise way of representing the percentile ranking. The percentiles are grouped into "stanines" as listed below. The 9th Stanine is the highest rank and 1st is the lowest rank that one can receive.





















    The Analysis section of the ISR gives detailed information on the scores of each test section. This information includes the raw scores, scaled scores, the number of questions that were never reached and the scores categorized based on question types in each individual test section. Hence, the Analysis section provides a detailed drill-down into the scores of each test section and helps the students determine their strong and weak subject-areas.

  3. How are the ISEE Test Scores Distributed?

    Within 7-10 working days of the ISEE test, the ISEE test scores are distributed via the Individual Score Report (ISR), copies of which are sent to up-to 6 preferred independent schools (selected by the student or parents themselves during the registration of the test). Along with the ISR report, copies of the ISEE essay are also sent out to the 6 authorized schools. A copy of the ISR report is also sent out to the parents (to their registered mailing address). ERB also provides an expedited score-reporting option, wherein parents may ask for a paid ISEE score report to be delivered to their doorstep on the closest Monday, Wednesday or Friday after the ISEE testing date.

  4. How are the ISEE Test Scores Interpreted?

    This is the most important aspect of the ISEE scoring process. Generally, the ISEE test scores are not viewed as individual scores, but are compared against a peer group of test-takers. Hence, the percentile and "stanine" ranks that appear on the ISR report matter the most to the administrators of the independent schools that you are applying to. Most private schools look at the "stanine" ranks to pick their students. A stanine rank of '7' or '8' is generally considered excellent and many private schools expect their applicants to have these scores at a minimum. A small group of highly distinguished private schools may expect their applicants to have a '8' or '9' "stanine" rank. However, we recommend that you check with the administrations of the private schools themselves to find out their individual cut-off scores, screening or score-interpretation criteria, so that you or your child may be well prepared to achieve them.

Thus far, we have stressed upon all the key aspects of the ISEE test scores and their calculation methods. With this information and with counseling from your preferred school administrations, you may plan your ISEE test preparation strategies accordingly. We wish all the ISEE applicants the very best of luck!

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