Adding value to data with Norm Referenced Standardised Scores

By Richard Hubbard, Curriculum and Product Advisor

Once students have taken an assessment it is important to understand how they compare with similar age groups (in years and months).

Different age groups of students will perform very differently and so our Star Reading and Star Maths test reports provide individual analytics that can be benchmarked against national comparison groups of a similar age.

Using these Norm Referenced Standardised Scores will bring added value to your data. You can compare individual test scores with others across the country and determine their relative strengths.

The true value of your data is revealed when you are able to relate the scores of your students to appropriate comparison groups. Mean scores from different schools can vary widely, but the comparison of your individual scores to a similar national sample will give you a way to judge the relative strength of your students.

We attempt to review our Norm Referenced Standardised Scores on a regular basis. The key benefits of using well-developed standardised scores help to ensure that:

  • The information such tests provide is both up to date and quantifiable.
  • Test results place a student in the context of their peer group nationally. It is very important that schools know how their students’ performance compares with others of the same age across the UK.
  • Using standardised tests over time allows progress to be tracked in an efficient and effective way. This applies particularly to testing students at regular intervals over the course of the year to find out how performance may change.

In order to achieve the level of excellence required for the Norming process we approached the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). NFER provides evidence for excellence through its independence and insights, the breadth of its work, its connections and a focus on outcomes.

The tests reported in the data were taken during the academic years 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17, with more than 2 million cases in each year.

In all NFER was able to norm 4,431,403 test results. This size of data set has provided an unrivalled level of insight and detail for such a piece of research. In order to account for age differences as well as differences related to the length of schooling, the data sample was split by year group and term, and norming was carried out individually for each year group and term.

Teachers will, therefore, be able to see the results from norming based on the Year Group, age in years and months and the time of year the assessment was taken.

This level of insight has not been achievable before but the huge data sample has allowed us to go well beyond the usual level of insight and detail.

This update will not change previous test scores, only the new test scores going forward. The reporting of Reading Ages will not be affected.

  • For a full Technical Report on the norming process by NFER please click here.
  • If you are an existing Renaissance customer, and would like to discuss training opportunities where you can learn more about Star’s features and reporting capabilities, please click here.
  • If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using Renaissance Star Assessments for reading, maths and early learning, and arrange a free online demonstration at your convenience, please click here.

Richard Hubbard
Curriculum and Product Advisor

An educator with a background teaching in both primary and higher education institutions, Richard is the Curriculum and Product Advisor at Renaissance Learning UK. He helps to guide product development and provides expertise on curricula.



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