Section 3.5

Fundamentals of Social Statistics by Adam J. McKee

Percentiles and Standard Scores

Up to this point, we have focused on describing a particular variable that contained values for many cases.  This section will shift that focus to looking at ways to describe the characteristics of a particular individual in the context of a set of scores.

The data collection process often results in many raw scores.  Raw scores are scores that have values that depend on how they are measured.  Often, this is not a problem because there is a known frame of reference that makes them easy to interpret.  A patient monitoring her blood sugar level, for example, has been told by her doctor what the acceptable, healthy range is.  Sometimes, there is no frame of reference to help us interpret scores.  For example, being told that a child scored 567 on the local school district’s Benchmark Exam is meaningless without a framework for interpretation.  This information is useless to us because we do not know what a normal score is.

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Last Modified:  06/03/2021

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