When parents receive the HSPT score report it can often be confusing to decipher. There is one main score to look for on the score report and that is called the Composite National Percentile, which is abbreviated as “NP-NS” under the “Performance Scores” section. This is a student’s national score and is the score that high schools generally use for admissions. Students will also be given National Percentiles for each of the 5 subtests. Taken together, these 5 subtest scores make up the Composite National Percentile score. The percentile-rank scale ranges from 1 to 99 and compares the performance of an individual student with that of other students within the same grade level. A National Percentile compares a student’s performance to students in a national sample. An NP score of 75, for example, means that the student scored higher than 75% of all students taking the HSPT. A 99th percentile means that the student scored higher than 99% of all students and is in the top 1% of all test
Low scores on the HSPT Diagnostic Assessment do not indicate that a school is “not doing its job” or inadequately preparing your child for high school. In fact, scores on this assessment are typically much lower than one might expect. There are many reasons for this: The HSPT is a very specific timed exam that tests concepts that students have learned as far back as the fourth grade. Some students may have forgotten basic math and English fundamentals which they simply need to refresh, review and practice. Other students perform poorly or average because they are not familiar with the timing and structure of the test. In fact, many students do not finish the test the first time they take it. Moreover, there are certain problem types specific to the HSPT that students may not have been presented with or practiced as part of their middle school curriculum. We like to compare the idea of 8 th graders preparing for the HSPT to that of high school students preparing for the SAT.