Assessment terminology and helpful descriptions

Academic Aptitude

The type of learning ability that is needed for school work

Achievement Test

A test of acquired information, abilities, or skills

Aptitude Test

A test used for estimating ability to learn or acquire skills in one or more areas

Group Test

A test that can be administered to a number of individuals simultaneously by a single examiner or proctor

Individual Test

A test that can be administered to only one individual at a time


A Lexile measure is a valuable piece of information about either an individual's reading ability or the difficulty of a text, like a book or magazine article. The Lexile measure is shown as a number with an "L" after it — 880L is 880 Lexile.


The average score of a group


The middle score obtained by a group of individual scores. It corresponds to the 50th percentile and divides the top half of the class from the bottom half

Multiple-choice Items

A type of objective test item that requires the tester to choose the correct or best answer from three or more choices offered


A single value (or score) or range of values (or scores) constituting the usual performance of a given group that serves as a reference by which to gauge the performance of other individuals who take the test

Norm Group

A group used as the criterion for gauging test scores

Objective Tests

A test that can be scored objectively with a scoring key in contrast to a free-response or essay type of examination that requires the grader to use subjective judgment

Percentile or Percentile Rank

A rating with a possible range of 1 to 99 that indicates the percent of individuals in the norm group that fall below a given score. It does not represent the number of items answered correctly.


The Quantile Framework for Mathematics is a scientific approach that indicates the difficulty of mathematical skills and concepts. Within the Quantile Framework, the mathematical skills and concepts are called Quantile Skills and Concepts or QSCs. In addition, the Quantile Framework locates a student's ability to address new mathematical topics. Each of these measures are on a single scale so that the skill demand and student ability can be matched for targeting instruction.

Raw Score

This is the initial score obtained before conversion to a scaled score. It may be the number of right responses, the number of right responses reduced by a proportion of the wrong responses, or the number of responses in a given category.


The degree of consistency, stability, or dependability of a test

Scaled Score

A uniform score range, derived by formula, indicating how far a raw score is from the mean in terms of standard deviation units. Used to compare similar but different forms of a test. 

Standard Deviation

A basic measure of variability of a distribution in both directions from the average score

Standardized Tests

An objective test administered under carefully prescribed conditions, scored according to definite rules, yielding results that can be evaluated in terms of established norms.

Stanine (Standard Nine)

A stanine is a score from 1 to 9, with 5 as the midpoint. Stanines are derived by dividing the entire range of students’ scores into nine segments.


The extent to which a test measures what it is designed to measure