The Scholastic Testing Service -- STS -- offers the High School Placement Test for eighth-graders. The HSPT is used by Catholic high schools for admissions, placement and scholarship purposes. HSPT scores take into account students' **individual performances and how their performance relates to other students of their age**.

Raw Scores and Scaled Scores

The HSPT is divided into five sections -- verbal, quantitative, reading, mathematics and language skills -- which each have between 52 and 64 multiple choice questions. The raw score for each of these five sections is simply the number of correct answers. No points are deducted for incorrect answers.

The raw scores are then converted to a scaled score or standard score. These scaled scores are derived from comparing the raw scores to the raw and scaled scores from the previous year. The maximum scaled score is 800, and the minimum is 200.

Percentile Rank

Scaled scores are used to determine a percentile rank. The percentile rank shows how a student compares to other students nationally. A percentile score falls between 1 and 99 and shows what percentage of test-takers a specific student scores higher than. A student ranked in the 90th percentile for mathematics has scored higher than 90 percent of other students in the mathematics section. A 50th percentile rank designates the average.

Percentile scores are not just determined on a national level. An HSPT score may also include a local percentile rank. This rank shows how a student compares to other test-takers in their community: students from the same school or school district.

Composite Scores

Scaled and percentile scores are not just calculated for the five subsections of the HSPT. Composite scores total multiple subsections and then calculate raw scores and percentile scores based on those totals. The total cognitive skills score totals the verbal and quantitative subsections, and the total basic skills score totals the reading, mathematics and language subsections. Finally, the raw scores for all five sections are totaled and converted to a scale score and percentile score. This is called the composite score.

How Are HSPT Scores Used?

Since the HSPT is primarily used by private and parochial schools, there are no fixed guidelines for how to use HSPT scores to determine placement and admission. Each school evaluates the section scores, composite scores and percentile ranks based on its own interpretive standards.