About RPI gains results

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About gains

The mySciLEARN Reading Progress Indicator reports use Reading Progress Indicator, our integrated assessment tool, to measure gains. RPI assessments help measure the impact of Fast ForWord program intervention. For more information on Reading Progress Indicator and how it is used to assess gains see the Reading Progress Indicator FAQ.

Reading Progress Indicator scores

For each assessment, Reading Progress Indicator assesses national percentile scores and grade equivalent scores, along with the percent correct in each reading skill area. Gain scores are available for students who have taken at least one follow-up assessment. A student’s overall gain score reflects improvement from the initial assessment to the latest follow-up assessment.

The scores in Reading Progress Indicator are based on the results of a calibration study in which Reading Progress Indicator was administered to a large, nationally representative sample of students. This sample was selected to include students of different ethnicities, and students from all regions of the United States. Fast ForWord program use was not considered in the selection process. Normalized scores were developed based on the performance of the students in this study.

Grade equivalent scores

Grade equivalent scores provide a general idea of how a student is performing with reference to younger and older students who took the same test. For example, a very advanced third grader might earn a grade equivalent score of 5.3 on the level 2-3 RPI assessment. This score means that the student performed as well as an average fifth grader who took the same test three months into the school year. A third grader who earns a score of 5.3 is performing well above average on third grade level material (at the 83rd percentile, to be precise), yet this does not mean the student is ready for fifth grade level material.

The Reading Progress Indicator grade equivalents were developed by a professional psychometrician based on data from the RPI norming study.

National percentile scores

National percentile scores allow you to compare one student's score to the scores of a large national sample. For example, if a student scored in the 70th percentile on an assessment, that student performed better than 70% of the students in his or her grade who took the same assessment as part of the calibration study. In contrast, percent correct scores indicate the proportion of questions that were answered correctly. For example, if a student scored 40% correct on a set of 10 questions, it means that the student got 4 correct answers.

Reading Progress Indicator provides a national percentile score for the student’s performance on the whole test, along with percent correct scores for the sets of questions on the four skill areas: phonological awareness, decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension. In addition, percentile scores for Reading Progress Indicator are based on the middle of the year and do not vary with the season. For example, for students in second grade, the 50th percentile corresponds approximately to a grade equivalent of 2.5. A second grader scoring at grade level earlier in the year will have a percentile score below 50, whereas a second grader scoring at grade level later the year will have a percentile score above 50.

Because normative data is not available for students beyond tenth grade, the national percentile scores for students in grades 11, 12, or 13+ are calculated based on tenth grade norms. For those who are familiar with percentiles, please note that percentiles in Reading Progress Indicator range from 1 to 99.

Gain scores

Gain scores reflect improvement from an earlier assessment to a later assessment. A student’s overall gain score shows improvement from the initial assessment to the latest follow-up assessment. Gain scores are reported in terms of grade equivalent scores and percentile scores. Grade equivalent scores are based on a ten month academic school year, so a student who earned an initial assessment score of 2.2 and a follow-up assessment score of 3.4 would have a gain score of 1.2 (that is, one year and two months).

Reading proficiency levels

Reading proficiency levels are categories of achievement that describe student performance in the skills measured by Reading Progress Indicator. There are four levels: struggling, emerging, established, and advanced. These proficiency levels were established by aligning results from the Reading Progress Indicator calibration study with information from various states regarding the percentage of students that achieve proficiency on high-stakes assessments. The levels are defined as follows. Occasionally the results are color coded.

  • Struggling – Indicates minimal success with the fundamental skills assessed by Reading Progress Indicator (students at the 1st to 29th percentile).
  • Emerging – Indicates a partial mastery of the skills assessed by Reading Progress Indicator (students at the 30th to 54th percentile).
  • Proficient – Indicates a solid understanding of the skills assessed by Reading Progress Indicator (students at the 55th to 79th percentile).
  • Advanced – Indicates a superior performance demonstrating excellent understanding of the skills assessed by Reading Progress Indicator (students at the 80th to 99th percentile).

Please note that percentiles in Reading Progress Indicator range from 1 to 99.

How are the average scores calculated?

Neither grade equivalent scores nor percentiles can be mathematically averaged. To report average grade equivalent gains, mySciLEARN averages the students' scaled scores on the initial assessment and the latest follow-up assessment, references the grade equivalent scores corresponding to those averages, and then uses those grade equivalent scores to calculate the average gain score. To report average percentile gains, mySciLEARN averages the students’ normal curve equivalent scores on the initial assessment and the latest follow-up assessment, references the percentile scores corresponding to those averages, and then uses those percentiles to calculate the average gain score.