Baffled by the ‘New” PSAT/NMSQ Scores? Read on!

Here are some valuable insights on interpreting the ‘New” PSAT/NMSQ scores by Nancy Griesner at the

Independent Educational Consultant NCStudents lucky enough to navigate the College Board website and successfully retrieve PSAT/NMSQ test scores from October are probably wondering what to make of the dizzying number of scores. As part of the redesign and repackaging of SAT-related products, the College Board has spun off no less than 16 separate scores to consider and stress over. Among these are a total score, a math score, an evidence-based reading and writing (ERW) score, “Nationally Representative Sample Percentile(s),” three test scores, two cross-test scores, seven subtest scores, and a National Merit® Scholarship Corporation Selection Index.

Score Range!

And each of these sets of scores has a different score range. The total score ranges from 320 to 1520; math and ERW scores range from 160 to 760; test scores and cross-test scores range from 8 to 38; subscores range from 1 to 15; and the NMSC Selection Index ranges from 48 to 228.

Families anxious to make decisions about future testing and those curious about how the new NMSC Selection Index might translate into future merit scholarship designations are naturally asking which scores are most important and what exactly they mean.

“Unfortunately, these overhauled reports feel overwrought and confusing. While they offer a vast array of measures—some helpful, some less so—and newly created subscores, they fall short of providing clear takeaways most students are seeking,” explained Bruce Reed, of Compass Education Group. “Aside from strongly encouraging students to now practice on Khan Academy, the new PSATreports are not as obviously actionable as users need them to be.”

So what can students take away from their PSAT experience? First, be assured that no college will ever see these test results. They are for your use only. So relax.

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