Stanines are used to compare an individual student’s achievement with the results obtained by a national reference sample chosen to represent a certain year level. Stanines divide the distribution of results from the trials for a year group, into nine categories. Most students, when compared with their own year level, achieve around stanines four, five, and six. Stanines seven, eight, and nine represent comparatively high achievement for a year group, while stanines one, two, and three indicate comparatively low achievement.

It is important to remember that the national reference sample data for the PAT tests was collected in March. The stanines in the reports reflect Term 1 achievement for the year group. This means that when a test is administered at the end of the year it will be more appropriate to make stanine comparisons with the next  year level. Schools need to be careful when interpreting stanines in Terms 2,3 & 4 to maintain accuracy.

The figure below shows how the nine stanines for a Year level break the PAT:Reading scale into 9 regions. Apart from stanines 1 and 9 each the width of each region is the same. More information about stanines and how they were derived can be found in the teacher manuals.

Stanines and the PAT:Reading Scale

Understanding stanines

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