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With Quantile measures being reported from a growing number of assessments and instructional products, many students receive multiple Quantile measures each year. You may find that a student’s Quantile measures vary significantly within a product or when comparing Quantile measures from different assessments, such as comparing results from a benchmark local assessment with a state end-of-grade assessment. You might be unsure why these test results fluctuate, which of the measures to use to guide instruction, and how to explain this phenomenon to parents.

Why do these fluctuations occur in test results?

Test results offer an estimate of a student’s ability. It’s normal to see a student’s tested measures go up and down. Each test result is just one data point at one moment in time and susceptible to a host of factors that impact test performance. Just as measurements like weight and blood pressure can fluctuate based on a variety of circumstances, so too can test scores.

Tools and Resources to Learn More About Why Test Results Fluctuate

  • Managing Multiple Measures Educator Explainer describes the different factors that influence assessment performance and provides tips for interpreting and explaining multiple measures to parents and students.
  • Managing Multiple Measures FAQ addresses questions commonly asked about test score fluctuation and managing multiple Quantile measures from different sources.
  • Managing Multiple Measures Tool – This handy tool takes a student’s multiple measures and recommends a Quantile measure to use for daily instruction. This is done by evaluating the different test types, their designed purpose and unique properties and combines it with the student’s grade level and test information to determine a “best” estimate of their current math ability.
  • White papers on the topic of test score fluctuation and managing multiple measures:

Resources to Share with Parents

We’ve also developed a resource center to help parents understand test score fluctuation and interpret their child’s test results. The resource center contains: