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    #141613 - 10/27/12 04:27 AM Help Understanding ITBS Scores?
    Wmiz77 Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 10/27/12
    Posts: 1
    hello, I am hoping someone out there can help decipher a score my daughter had on her ITBS testing at school. She is in third grade, although a young 8, she has an August birthday. Her usage and expression in language arts showed to be at an 8.9 grade level equivalent. Her other scores varied, from a little above grade level to several 5th grade GE. The usage and expression one was such a dramatic difference between her actual grade level and GE, so I am just trying to get some insight. She has not been IDed as gifted, in first grade she did not pass one creativity test (where the teacher fills out a form about the child, not really a test). Honestly as long as she is happy, does well in life, I am fine if she is not considered gifted. I figured maybe someone here could explain what the 8.9 test score means, if anything! TIA!

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    #141791 - 10/30/12 08:06 AM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Wmiz77]
    Cricket2 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/11/09
    Posts: 2172
    Loc: Colorado
    Wmiz77, did you get any other information than the grade equivalents (e.g. percentile rank, etc.)? I grabbed my oldest's old ITBS scores from 3rd grade b/c she was the same age as your dd at that grade. Her scores included the following tests:

    Vocab, reading comprehension (these two together made up the reading total)
    Word Analysis, listening, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, usage and expression (these made up the Language total)

    Concepts & estimation, problem solving & data interpretation, math computation (these three made up the math total)

    All of the above combined to make up a core total

    Social Studies

    Science

    Maps & diagrams, Reference materials (these two made up the Sources of information)

    ALL of the above made up the "composite"

    We got a national percentile rank for each of the above tests as well as each of the "total"s and the composite. We, unfortunately, did not get grade equivalents so I don't know how my dd's percentiles would translate to GEs on that one test. My general feel, though, is that percentiles up to the 90th, especially if they are not across the board, can be accommodated in a reasonable classroom unless it is unusually low performing.

    Do you know if any of her total scores, core total, or composite were that high? One stand out strength often isn't enough to get acceleration. Usually schools want to see the "total" (reading, language, or whatever) at the 95th percentile or so, which if I had to guess, would be somewhere around a GE of 6th grade for an early 3rd grader.

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    #141793 - 10/30/12 08:31 AM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Wmiz77]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Let me preface this by stating that I'm HG/HG+, though I've got at least one S-B in my past that would argue that I'd have been DYS material--

    my ITBS scores (back in the day) would have been, as Cricket notes, broken down into subsections and scored with percentiles as well as GE's.

    When I took it in third grade, I do know that my dad was blown away by my GE's-- which were all 9th-13th grade (what 13th grade is, I do not know... but at least then, this indicated "post secondary" as opposed to "struggling to finish high school curriculum" smirk ) My mom, an educator herself, quickly talked him down by pointing out that being the smart at third grade material didn't make a 12th grader some kind of genius. LOL.

    The percentiles were a different story. THOSE were the real news.
    My percentiles on that third grade ITBS would have been 98's and higher across the board.

    My parents were offered a grade skip-- but opted to instead place me in the lower grade in several consecutive split level classrooms, and follow with middle and high school GT programming. (I continued to earn 98th percentiles and higher on every other standardized test I've ever taken, btw.)



    My daughter, who is PG, has never taken the ITBS, but on a similar, nationally normed battery, scored straight 99.9 percentiles-- taken two years out of level when she was six. She has continued to test on normed tests (state testing, etc) 97th-99.9th percentiles for the following seven years-- again, testing 2-4 years out of level.

    I mention this anecdote because she and I are both people who naturally "test well" (so actually this kind of nationally normed assessment IS reasonably accurate for both of us) and there is a big difference once you move out past the second standard deviation of the cognitive ability curve. There is a world of difference between a child at 95th percentiles and one at 98th-99th and one like my DD at the 99.9th across the board.

    No way am I cognitively in her league, and I was more or less fine in 'regular' classrooms. With a few tweaks, that is.

    Neither my DD nor myself were remotely happy in undifferentiated environments, however, and this is not the case for someone like my DH, who is more along the lines of 95th percentiles in some areas and 97-99th in others.

    Percentiles. Yes. Much more useful info. HTH.


    Edited by HowlerKarma (10/30/12 08:52 AM)
    Edit Reason: clarity
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    #141794 - 10/30/12 09:06 AM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Wmiz77]
    Kai Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 640
    In looking at my son's ITBS scores, I'm guessing that GE 8.9 corresponds to a standard score of 250ish. This corresponds to percentiles in the mid 90s for spring of 4th grade. What this means in reality is that your daughter has likely mastered 4th grade material and is ready for 5th grade work.

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    #141795 - 10/30/12 09:20 AM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Kai]
    Cricket2 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/11/09
    Posts: 2172
    Loc: Colorado
    Originally Posted By: Kai
    In looking at my son's ITBS scores, I'm guessing that GE 8.9 corresponds to a standard score of 250ish. This corresponds to percentiles in the mid 90s for spring of 4th grade. What this means in reality is that your daughter has likely mastered 4th grade material and is ready for 5th grade work.

    The thing to be careful of here is that the ITBS does not work like the MAPS. A standard score of 250, say, is not the same for a 3rd grader as it is for a 4th grader or a 5th grader. You really cannot compare across grade levels on the ITBS. The NCE, SS, and GE are all relative to how other kids would have tested or did test on that one grade level test only.

    The other thing to consider is that this GE of 8.9 is only on one piece of the language test. If her overall language test/composite language was similarly high, I'd agree that she's needing more in that one area. FWIW, the language test primarily looks at something similar to the English test on the EXPLORE, but for a younger grade of course in this instance. A very high score on the language test indicates a kid who is very good with written conventions (spelling, capitalization, sentence structure, etc.) but may or may not indicate a child who needs acceleration in language arts.

    I'd tend to believe that acceleration in LA or GT placement in that area should depend on the content & depth of the child's writing and reading moreso than his/her English conventions achievement.

    I'm putting this out there not b/c I believe that the OP's kid is not gifted, just b/c I think that caution is warranted before making decisions about what a child needs based on one high area on one test.
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    #141805 - 10/30/12 11:41 AM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Cricket2]
    Kai Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 640
    Originally Posted By: Cricket2

    The thing to be careful of here is that the ITBS does not work like the MAPS. A standard score of 250, say, is not the same for a 3rd grader as it is for a 4th grader or a 5th grader. You really cannot compare across grade levels on the ITBS. The NCE, SS, and GE are all relative to how other kids would have tested or did test on that one grade level test only.


    That is true to some extent, and I would certainly do further (out of level) testing before proposing anything like formal subject acceleration in a school setting, but a standard score of 250 is a standard score of 250 and it is very likely that the child would obtain that same SS if given the out of level test.

    Originally Posted By: Cricket2
    The other thing to consider is that this GE of 8.9 is only on one piece of the language test. If her overall language test/composite language was similarly high, I'd agree that she's needing more in that one area.


    My main point is that a GE of 8.9 is not as out there as it seems when viewed in the light of subject mastery.


    Edited by Kai (10/30/12 11:42 AM)

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    #141808 - 10/30/12 11:55 AM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Kai]
    Cricket2 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/11/09
    Posts: 2172
    Loc: Colorado
    Originally Posted By: Kai
    Originally Posted By: Cricket2

    The thing to be careful of here is that the ITBS does not work like the MAPS. A standard score of 250, say, is not the same for a 3rd grader as it is for a 4th grader or a 5th grader. You really cannot compare across grade levels on the ITBS. The NCE, SS, and GE are all relative to how other kids would have tested or did test on that one grade level test only.


    That is true to some extent, and I would certainly do further (out of level) testing before proposing anything like formal subject acceleration in a school setting, but a standard score of 250 is a standard score of 250 and it is very likely that the child would obtain that same SS if given the out of level test.

    I don't think that it is on the ITBS for the reason mon gave above. A SS of 250 on a 3rd grade version of the ITBS is not the same as a SS of 250 on the 4th or 5th grade version. The GE and SS both refer to how children in the norming sample scored when given the 3rd grade version, which differs from other grade versions.

    On some other tests like NWEA MAPs, the rit scores do compare across grade levels b/c the test is identical regardless of your grade or age. The student just moves up to harder questions as s/he answers questions correctly.

    Edit to add: In looking at how the ITBS is scored further, I want to clarify. While standard scores apparently can be compared across grade levels to some extent (i.e. a SS of 244 would be the 50th percentile for the reading total for an 8th grader and, presumably, a much higher percentile for the reading total for a 3rd grader), they are still based on different tests. The 8th grade test, for instance, gives much harder questions than the 3rd grade test. So, if a 3rd grader got a 244 (answered correctly very difficult questions for a 3rd grader) on the 3rd grade test, I don't believe that it stands to reason that the same 3rd grader, if given the 8th grade test, would answer as well as the average (50th percentile) 8th grader, achieving the same SS of 244 when answering much harder questions.


    Edited by Cricket2 (10/30/12 12:41 PM)
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    #141821 - 10/30/12 12:45 PM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Wmiz77]
    Iucounu Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    This is an interesting question, Kai and Cricket2. People here often opine that high grade equivalents reported for tests like the ITBS just indicate how an upper-level student would have done on the lower-level test. If that's true, it does imply that the standard scores are supposed to be standardized across grade levels.

    On the other hand, I have trouble believing that a lower-level student would do as well as the grade equivalents might indicate on a test leveled many grades above, for example that a third grader who gets the standard score of an average ninth grader would get the same score on the ninth grade test. There must be some above-level questions on each grade to give a little headroom, but this has to be limited; I doubt that too many ninth-grade-level questions appear on the third-grade test. The larger the grade differential, too, the fewer questions at the lower level will appear on the higher-level test.

    Let's imagine a hypothetical perfectly accurate third grade math student who has been exposed to no concepts introduced in the fourth grade or above, and who won't learn new concepts on the test. A high achiever and hard worker, but not extremely smart, say. I doubt that there are so many third-grade questions on the ninth-grade test that even a perfect score on those would give the standard score of an average ninth grader, who probably will find the third grade questions easy and get at least some of the rest correct too. Now, some high-scoring third graders will be able to learn during a test, and some will have been exposed to higher than third-grade concepts as well, but the bigger the grade differential, the less likely I think it will be that a high grade equivalent will actually be accurate.

    I have none of the statistical thinking tools needed to analyze these issues, but I do know that testing experts often regard grade equivalents as less accurate the further out they're cast. I think it's likely that Kai is right that the standard scores are intended to really be standard across grades, but I also would bet that they aren't, at least when applied in an upward direction across the entire range. Thus we get incredulous questions every so often on this from parents new to testing or the site, and they're right to be incredulous.
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    #141833 - 10/30/12 02:40 PM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Wmiz77]
    Kai Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 640
    I'm basing my statements about this on having administered the ITBS intended for grades 1-8 and the ITED intended for grades 9-12 *and* having actually taken all of the tests I've administered myself. As a homeschooler, I also taught students at levels K-12 in language arts/English and math from the K level through Algebra II. I have also had my kids take the MAP and the WJ-III at various times through the years.

    I'm not mentioning all of this because I'm trying to impress anyone. Over the years, as a homeschooler, I've been truly interested in how my kids' achievement on standardized tests corresponds to their day-to-day achievement on their schoolwork.

    What I've found is that *mastering* the material at a particular level (and not knowing any more than that) seems to correspond to placing in the 90th percentile and above for that level. I base this on knowing what is taught at a particular level, what is on the test, and what I know my kids know. When my kids have taken the MAP or WJ-III their GE scores do match up well with their ITBS scores.

    What is frightening and depressing is what GE really means. The 8.9 GE we've been discussing means that the average 8th grader in the 50th percentile has mastered 4th grade work. And the GE of 13+ which so many of us here see filling the GE column for our elementary age kids is equivalent to a SS of about 285 or so, which equates to mastery at the 6th-7th grade level.

    The reason that a college degree has become the new high school diploma is because the average kid coming out of high school today has had an 8th grade education.

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    #141834 - 10/30/12 02:55 PM Re: Help Understanding ITBS Scores? [Re: Kai]
    Iucounu Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    Originally Posted By: Kai
    When my kids have taken the MAP or WJ-III their GE scores do match up well with their ITBS scores.

    Without trying to minimize your level of experience, I think that at most tends to show a correlation with how the GEs may be arrived at, not that they would actually score at or near the 50th percentile on the test for the grade where they are reported to be around the 50th percentile. And your particular kids might score that way on an 8th or 9th grade test, but I still doubt (without more evidence) that the average score on those tests for children with those GEs would come out that way.

    ETA: Okay, that was boneheaded. Rabble rabble small sample size.
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