PSAT question

Hoping to get some clarification on PSAT score… We just got my daughter’s score at 1320, the printout and booklet states that is 97th percentile, but historically its 93 %. That seems like a huge change in scoring. Am I reading something wrong or could have scores dropped that much?

Hi. We have something similar going on. We just got my son’s this morning. His is a 1390, but it says it’s a 99th percentile. Normally that would be about a 96th percentile. I’m also wondering if scores dropped? Perhaps due to learning under COVID?
He was hoping for NMSC Commended Student status but his selection score was only 206, which is below the usual cut-off for our state. However, it seems like if he’s really 99th percentile, he should qualify? It would be great to have more information!

With us and quite likely with you, the percentile shown was the national representative number, a guestimate about where your score would fall if every Junior took the test. We need to be using User percentile, this is historical percentile of actual test takers, that will be closer to what we are looking at. If you go to percentile on college board website there is a little question mark by it, if you push that it will give you User percentage. For us it took the 975 down to the expected 93. Hope that helps


@andee515 Thanks. That’s very helpful. You’re correct. the 99th “National Representative percentile” dropped to a 96% “User percentile.” I wish they hadn’t made the latter as hard to miss!

ETA: On a different note, when he took the PSAT as a 10th grader both percentiles were a 94%. I wonder how often the numbers are right on (like they were for him last year) and how often they have so much spread (like this year). I know it also gets complicated comparing 10th to 11th graders.

College Board’s made up “Nationally Representative” percentile has caused nothing but confusion since they started using it. I guess they want some students to feel better about their performance, but it just triggers ongoing “I’m in the top x%, which is supposed to qualify for y, why didn’t I qualify?” questions.

Both percentiles can be compared at PSAT/NMSQT Score Information – Research – College Board

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yes I noticed on my daughters page the same thing, she took PSAT as soph and now junior as well as 1 SAT and some national were higher and some user, kind of counterintuitive, you would assume user would always be higher…