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How to Understand Your Child’s HSPT Scores

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
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Why a Low Score on the HSPT Diagnostic Assessment Does Not Mean Your Middle School Is Failing to Prepare Your Child

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.

Does My Child Need to Take an HSPT Class?

Many parents wonder if their child needs to take a class to prepare for the HSPT. They think that if their child has good grades in school that an HSPT prep course is not necessary. We have found that grades alone do not indicate whether a child is prepared to do well on the HSPT.  The reason for this is that the HSPT tests students on material that goes back to the earlier grades, and some students have forgotten some of this material.  Even though they may be earning good grades in the present as a 7th or 8th grader, they may not remember how to do certain math problems or remember certain grammar rules that they learned in 5th or 6th grade. In addition, the HSPT is a timed test, so that students need to complete each of the five sub-tests in a rather strict time frame. Students who are more methodical (and thus slower workers), find the timing of the sub-tests very challenging. Taking an HSPT prep class can help students to learn to finish the HSPT sub-tests in the time allotted

How Soon Should My 7th Grader Begin to Prepare for the HSPT?

Many parents ask us this question. And the answer depends upon several factors. If your child is a high-achieving student and consistently scores in the 80th and 90th percentile on their yearly standardized tests (STAR, IOWA, SAT, ERB, etc.), then he or she can wait until the fall of 8th grade to begin HSPT preparation. If, on the other hand, your child : does poorly on standardized tests suffers from "test anxiety" is a methodical and somewhat slow worker takes a great deal of time finishing assignments has average grades in school (B's and C's)  then we suggest that he or she begin HSPT preparation during the the summer after 7th grade. We offer two programs that are very helpful.  One is our HSPT Diagnostic Assessment for 7th graders. The assessment will tell you whether your child is prepared for the HSPT and what areas he or she needs to work on now in order to get ready for success on the HSPT. Visit our website for more information on the  Diagnos

When Will I Get My HSPT Test Results?

Now that the two testing dates for the HSPT have passed, some parents are asking, "When will I get the test results?"  Unfortunately, you will have to wait awhile.  The HSPT results are mailed home along with the acceptance letters from the high schools.  The school where your child took the test will be the one to send the HSPT scores. This mailing goes out in mid-March. Admittedly, that is a long time to wait for the results, and some parents and students have to deal with a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in the meantime. Our advice is to try to relax and not be preoccupied with the results, taking comfort in the knowledge that your child has done all that he or she could to prepare for the HSPT. -Steve Saso Saso High School Prep Founder