How is the HSPT Scored?

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2 min read

The High School Placement Test is a comprehensive exam offered to 8th graders. The test is available in two formats: closed and open. The closed exam is leased, or rented, by a high school to provide its students with materials and scoring on a national measure. The test assesses quantitative and verbal skills, as well as mathematics, language, and reading. Closed exams may also include sections devoted to science and mechanical aptitude. The open test is a previous addition of a closed exam that is evaluated by the school that offers it. However, the resulting data is equivalent. Here are some great tips on how to succeed on the HSPT.

What does my score report include?

Each student receives their standard scores, local and national percentiles, and grade equivalents for each of the skill subtests: language, mathematics, quantitative, reading, and verbal. The national average is presented as a percentage—if you earn an 86%, 86% of individuals scored below you on this test. These are some great study strategies for HSPT success that you may want to take a look at.

Grade equivalents

As stated above, the score report notes grade equivalents, which may be confusing. If an 8th  grade student earns a 10 GE (grade equivalent) on the mathematics portion, this does not mean that the student can perform 10th grade mathematics. Instead, the GE signifies that the individual in question can do 8th grade mathematics as well as an average high school sophomore can. The HSPT assesses skills up to and including 8th grade—not beyond. Grade equivalents are not a reflection of the student’s grasp of future curriculum.

Cognitive skills quotients

Cognitive skills quotients (CSQ) are often interpreted as replacements for IQ results, but they are not interchangeable. CSQ may be utilized by a high school to predict an individual’s academic performance, rather than his or her innate intelligence. Unlike IQ tests, the HSPT solely measures quantitative and verbal subject areas, in addition to various learning skills.

Course placement

Many high schools also rely upon individual subtest results to place students in classes. Therefore, if your marks are high in verbal, but low in mathematics, you may be enrolled in appropriate, differentiated courses, provided your institution offers those options. If you find yourself struggling in your HSPT studies you may want to consider an HSPT tutor to help you prepare.

Potentially questionable averages

Take care with local percentiles on your score report. The pool of test-takers may be much smaller or larger than you realize. It may be as small as the classroom you tested in, or as large as the entire state. The score report typically does not include this information, but the average may be skewed as a result of the testing group’s size. When studying, keep in mind that local percentiles actually tip “cut off” results for certain classes and school programs in your favor, as they are variable. If no one in your middle school understood question six, you may still be average or above average.