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2 min read

How is a Cognitive Ability Test scored?

Jul 23, 2021 12:20:10 PM

What does a Cognitive Ability Test measure?

A Cognitive Ability Test measures the maximum performance of a candidate’s ability.

For example, the results from one of our ability tests show us how a candidate has performed, in comparison to a diverse group of previous test takers. This allows us to interpret the results in terms of what is typical within a given group, rather than just how many questions a candidate has gotten right. 

How is an ability test scored

When assessing cognitive ability, for each individual ability test, it’s important to understand what each assessment is measuring in order to accurately interpret the results. All Clevry ability assessments summarise what the test is measuring/has measured at the start of each candidate feedback report. 


How is a Cognitive Ability Test scored?

All Cognitive Ability Tests delivered through the Clevry assessment platform use norm referenced scoring. 

This means that candidates’ scores are compared to a diverse group of individuals who have completed the same assessments in the past. 

We therefore report a sten score which has been standardized to show a candidate’s ability, compared to a group of others. This is important for accurate interpretation of results. For example, if you assess two candidates and one achieves a raw score of 14/15 and the other 12/15, it appears as if the first candidate has scored much better on the assessment, getting 13% more of the questions correct.


What is a STEN score?

Sten scores are a standardised scoring system which indicates where an individual's score sits in relation to a relevant comparison population. Sten scores, standing for 'Standard Ten', as the name suggests, range from 1 to 10, with middling scores of 5-6 suggesting average ability, scores of 9-10 indicating high ability, and scores of 1-2 indicating low ability compared to the comparison group.


However, if by looking at the norm group, we know that the average score on the assessment is actually 4/15 then both of these candidates have performed outstandingly and it would therefore be reductive to compare them both on such a small difference in score. 

Sten scores already take this comparison into account meaning that they aid more accurate interpretation. 

Each cognitive ability test has its own norm group, as each assessment contains a different set of questions. This means that the make-up of each norm group will be slightly different even between assessments within the same test series (i.e. CWS, B2C, Utopia). 

Topics: Assessments
Ryan Inglethorpe

Written by Ryan Inglethorpe