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    Joined: Nov 2010
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    E&J Offline OP
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    What does "grade equivalent" exactly mean in achievement tests?

    DS7 just took a Woodcook-Johnson III Achievement test and his score is:

    Broad Reading 148
    Broad Math 197
    Broad Writing 150
    Total Achievement 166

    I guess I understand these numbers using the concept of "how many Standard Deviations above the mean". But I'm not sure about the meaning of the "grade equivalent". In several sub tests the Grade Equivalent is 10, 13, 14.

    Letter-Word Identification 10.1
    Word Attack 13
    Math Calculation 13
    Applied problems 13
    Quantitative Concepts 14.4

    Does it mean DS hit *some* spots in test at high school level?
    Or he has the *capacity* to learn at high school level?
    Or he demonstrated enough understanding/mastery in certain areas at high school level?

    Can someone shed light on the definition of "grade achievement" in achievement tests?

    Thanks!

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    As I understand it, the grade equivalent is the grade at which the average raw score is equal to a testee's raw score. Your son's score in math apparently shows a rarity greater than 1 in 19 billion! Wow! He killed it.
    http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/iqtable.aspx


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    Pretty much what lucounu said, but one thing did stand out as odd to me on the #s you have. My dd14 took the WJ-III at 7.4 so the comparison should be pretty equal. She had grade equivalents of 18 in quite a couple of the "broad reading" tests yet her overall score in that section was well below the 148 you were given for broad reading. If I recall correctly, there were no areas on broad reading where she was below grade 8 equivalency and more of them were in the 14-18 grade range than the middle school area.

    Perhaps the test has changed since then (I do recall a lot more subtests than you've listed here), but I'd expect that a 7 y/o with scores in the upper 140s-190s for the composite reading and math parts to have much higher grade equivalencies. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

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    Kai Offline
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    Grade equivalent means that the score is the same as the average score for a person in X grade.

    So, for example, if for 10th graders the average score on a particular test is 23 and your kid also gets 23 on the test, then his grade equivalent score will be a 10. Sometimes they also show months. A GE of 10.7 would mean 10th grade, 7th month.

    It is extremely common for gifted elementary age students to obtain GEs of 13+.

    The scores you've shared are high school grade equivalents. However, they don't mean that your son has mastered high school level material. Most high school students don't master high school level material. For example, a child with mastery of arithmetic and a smidge of prealgebra will have a GE of post high school level on the WJ-III. GE scores >8 really tell you more about what high school students don't know than about what your child does know.

    The other issue that GEs obscure is that we don't want our gifted kids to be achieving at an average level when they do high school work. A more telling GE for gifted kids would be the grade level where their performance is at the 90th percentile. After giving my children various tests for a number of years, I believe that the 90th percentile is the level where mastery of grade level material is indicated.

    So, for example, my 10 year old son (4th grade age) took the ITBS intended for 7th graders this past spring. I had the scores run four times--as compared to 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th graders--because I wanted to see what grade level (end of year) his scores were at the 90th percentile (his GEs were all 13+). What I found was that as compared to 4th and 5th graders he was at the 99th percentile, as compared to 6th graders he was at the 98th percentile, and as compared to 7th graders he was at the 91st percentile. So, in my mind, his true grade equivalent is 7.9 (7th grade, end of year). And that happens to match my experience with him (we homeschooled up until this past spring).

    Of course, socially an 8th grade placement in a classroom would not work for him, but the scores did make me feel more comfortable with a 6th grade placement with additional acceleration in math.

    I hope this makes sense. You son did extremely well!

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    CCN Offline
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    Originally Posted by Kai
    Grade equivalent means that the score is the same as the average score for a person in X grade.

    The scores you've shared are high school grade equivalents. However, they don't mean that your son has mastered high school level material.

    Ahhh... thank you. That wasn't clear to me until now. It's not about curriculum mastery, but rather test performance relative to others of a certain "grade age." Got it!

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    E&J Offline OP
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    Thanks Kai! It does make a lot of sense!

    Originally Posted by Kai
    Grade equivalent means that the score is the same as the average score for a person in X grade.
    .....

    I hope this makes sense. You son did extremely well!

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    E&J Offline OP
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    Thanks Cricket2.
    There are about a dozen of sub tests and I didn't list all. It looks like the Broad Reading score of 148 is made of the following:

    Letter-Word Identification 158
    Reading fluency 151
    Passage comprehension 143.

    The grade equivalence is on each sub test not on the total achievement or the 3 "broad" scores.


    Originally Posted by Cricket2
    Pretty much what lucounu said, but one thing did stand out as odd to me on the #s you have. My dd14 took the WJ-III at 7.4 so the comparison should be pretty equal. She had grade equivalents of 18 in quite a couple of the "broad reading" tests yet her overall score in that section was well below the 148 you were given for broad reading. If I recall correctly, there were no areas on broad reading where she was below grade 8 equivalency and more of them were in the 14-18 grade range than the middle school area.

    Perhaps the test has changed since then (I do recall a lot more subtests than you've listed here), but I'd expect that a 7 y/o with scores in the upper 140s-190s for the composite reading and math parts to have much higher grade equivalencies. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

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    Originally Posted by E&J
    Thanks Cricket2.
    There are about a dozen of sub tests and I didn't list all. It looks like the Broad Reading score of 148 is made of the following:

    Letter-Word Identification 158
    Reading fluency 151
    Passage comprehension 143.

    The grade equivalence is on each sub test not on the total achievement or the 3 "broad" scores.
    Truly, I don't have enough WJ data to have a comparison (nor the software to crunch #s myself!). OTOH, those three numbers are so high, that I'd again think that they'd be higher for GE and even that the 148 would come out higher. I'm probably wrong, though -- lol! Either way, those are some impressively high scores.

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    Originally Posted by master of none
    And I do believe that most tests use GE to reflect how an average person in that grade would do on the test. So, for example, a second grader with a GE of 8th grade means that the average 8th grader would score that level ON THE SECOND GRADE TEST.
    I don't think so, rather that an average 8th grader would get the same raw score on the test they were given. For an adaptive test, that would tend to blow by second-grade questions pretty quickly. There are also plenty of eighth graders out there who would score perfectly on any arbitrary number of second-grade math questions-- certainly more than 1 in 19 billion. smile For that matter, there are plenty of second graders who would too.


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    Originally Posted by master of none
    I think I remember somebody (Dottie) on this board telling me that WJIII is different. That test actually tests with material at each of the grade levels. Obviously, it's only a very small number of items at that level, but if my memory is right, the WJII grade equivalencies are supposed to reflect work at that grade.

    I don't know if it has changed since our tests about 3 years ago.

    And I do believe that most tests use GE to reflect how an average person in that grade would do on the test. So, for example, a second grader with a GE of 8th grade means that the average 8th grader would score that level ON THE SECOND GRADE TEST.

    But again, the WJIII is from my memory different

    The WJ-III is different from the ITBS in that the kid is given problems/items until he reaches the stop criterion. The GE is the same though, meaning that it reflects how well the kid did compared to X graders at the 50th percentile. The good thing about the WJ-III is that it doesn't have the ceiling that a grade level test like the ITBS has since the kid can keep going. But FWIW, when my son was 9 he scored at the post high school level in math, but only answered prealgebra type questions to obtain that score.

    The ITBS has tests for each grade level with items that go above and below the grade level. In the lower grades, the GE scores top out well below that 8th grade level. For example, my son got all but one of the spelling questions correct on the 1st grade ITBS and the GE was 2.4. On the 2nd grade test he got all of the spelling questions correct and the GE was 4.5. On that same test, he got all of the language questions correct and the GE was 6.1.

    The items on the ITBS are actually on a continuum. The standard score shows where the kid is on that continuum (it is similar to the RIT score on the MAP). A particular standard score is associated with a specific grade equivalent (just like the RIT on the MAP) and is based on performance on particular items. They don't develop grade equivalent scores by having older kids take tests for younger kids.


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