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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 takers.

There is also a Local Percentile (LP-LS) which is often significantly lower than the National Percentile, which can lead to some confusion. A Local Percentile compares a student’s performance to other local students. A local group consists of all of the students who tested at a particular school or group of schools. If test takers are strong in this local group, a student’s Local Percentile will be lower than their National Percentile. Schools generally use the National Percentile in their admissions considerations, so don’t worry if the Local Percentile is lower.

For an explanation of the other test measures – SS (standard score), GE (grade equivalent), CSQ (cognitive skills quotient) and ST (stanine) – we refer you to this link that brings you to a page on the STS testing site:


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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 testssuffers from "test anxiety"is a methodical and somewhat slow workertakes a great deal of time finishing assignmentshas 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 Diagnostic Assessment