ETS® Proficiency Profile Criterion-referenced Scores (Proficiency Classifications)

Proficiency classifications (proficient, marginal or not proficient) measure how well your students have mastered each level of proficiency within the following skill areas:

  • Reading and Critical Thinking
  • Writing
  • Mathematics

Within each of these skill areas, the specific skills tested by the ETS® Proficiency Profile test are classified into three proficiency levels, identified simply as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Each proficiency level is defined in terms of competencies expected of students. Learn more about the proficiency levels.

Proficiency Classifications on the Standard Form

The specific competencies have been grouped into proficiency levels in such a way that most students who are proficient at the higher-level skills will also be proficient at the lower-level skills in the same skill area. Each student taking the Standard form of the ETS Proficiency Profile test is classified as proficient, marginal or not proficient at each proficiency level of each skill area. A student classified as marginal is one whose test results do not provide clear enough evidence to classify the student as proficient or not proficient.

Each question on the ETS Proficiency Profile test is associated with a particular proficiency level in a particular skill area (e.g., Level 2 in writing). In writing and in mathematics, each proficiency classification reported depends on the responses to the questions from all three proficiency levels. However, the questions are weighted unequally, with the questions at the relevant proficiency level taking the greatest weight. For example, in classifying a student as proficient, marginal or not proficient at Level 2 in mathematics, all 27 mathematics questions enter into the formula, but the Level 2 mathematics questions are given more weight than the Level 1 questions or the Level 3 questions.

The procedure is slightly different for reading and critical thinking. Proficiency Levels 1 and 2 consist of reading skills, but Level 3 consists of critical thinking skills, which go beyond reading skills. The proficiency classifications for Level 1 and Level 2 reading are based on the 27 reading questions; the 27 critical thinking questions are not included. Again, the questions are weighted unequally, with the questions at the relevant proficiency level taking the greater weight. The proficiency classification for Level 3 critical thinking is based only on the 27 critical thinking questions.

Institutions receive a "Summary of Proficiency Classifications" report for each group of students — or "cohort" — tested. The report shows the percentages of the students classified as proficient, marginal and not proficient, at each proficiency level in each skill area. Institutions using the Standard form of the ETS Proficiency Profile test also receive a roster showing these proficiency classifications for each individual student. See ETS Proficiency Profile Reports.

Proficiency Classifications on the Abbreviated Form

A student taking the Abbreviated form of the ETS Proficiency Profile test answers only three questions at each proficiency level in writing and in mathematics, and only four or five at each level in reading. Therefore, the Abbreviated form does not provide sufficient information for proficiency classifications of individual students.

However, over a large enough group of students — or cohort — it is possible to estimate the percentage of the group who would be classified as proficient, marginal and not proficient, if the students had taken the Standard form. You must have at least 30 students with valid results, in a single cohort or through combined cohorts, in order to generate aggregate reports.

The percentages of students at each proficiency level in reading, writing and mathematics are estimated by computing a proficiency classification for each student. Each classification makes use of the student's responses to all the questions in the skill area but weights the questions unequally. The individual classifications are not reported but are used to compute an estimated percentage for the group. The cut points for the classifications were chosen by a statistical procedure designed to make the group percentages on the Abbreviated form comparable — as nearly as possible — to those on the Standard form.

A "Summary of Proficiency Classifications" report can be produced for a single cohort or combined cohorts with at least 30 valid test results. The report shows the percentages of the students classified as proficient, marginal and not proficient, at each proficiency level in each skill area. See ETS Proficiency Profile Reports.

See also:

 

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