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The Terra Nova score

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter has entered 8th grade this September, she has been put into a Reading/Writing Lab based on her Terra Nova test results (score 682) from 7th grade, that this is an academic intervention. Yet, she was an honor roll student 3 out of 4 semesters and her year end average was 93%....should I been concerned? And can someone please explain to me what that Terra Nova score actually means?

A: The Terra Nova is a standardized achievement test used to provide consistent, accurate, and objective information about students' achievement in various areas of the curriculum. Being a standardized test, standard testing procedures (with exact directions, time limits, and scoring criteria) ensure that testing conditions are the same for all students.

In the administration of the test, individual or group scores may be compared with a criterion or with the scores of other students in the class, school, district, or national norm group. Test results can also be compared over time intervals, which is one indication of growth for an individual or group of students.

A single scale for each content area across all tests and all grades is used to enable comparisons over time. However, as the test has different content areas, each are scaled separately and cannot be compared with scores in another content area. In this case, for example, a scale score of 682 on a reading test would not have the same meaning as a scale score of 682 on a mathematics test. Therefore, only converting of scale score for each content area to a NCE, Normal Curve Equivalent (range from 1 99) allows comparisons that are meaningful. These tests determine strengths and weaknesses of a student and thus enable the school to provide academic intervention.

If you have concerns, which I think is quite normal since she has been an honor roll student, you may want to see her teachers to perhaps understand better the distribution of the results and what can be done to help your child.


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