Scores - the Psychometric Entrance Test:

Calculation, Reporting to
Institutions & Examinees, Reevaluation

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Significance, calculation and reporting of the test scores

The purpose of the test scores

Institutions of higher education cannot accept every applicant. They prefer to accept the applicants with the best prospects of successfully completing a first degree. In order to predict the applicants’ prospects, most institutions use the scores in the PET and high school matriculation exams (Bagrut). The only purpose of the PET scores is predicting the prospects of academic success: the higher an applicant’s score, the greater the likelihood of success in academic studies.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that this is a question of probability, not certainty. There is no guarantee that an applicant with a high PET score will do well in academic studies and an applicant with a low score will fail. There are many factors that influence academic success, including motivation, creativity, and tenacity, and no test in the world can assess them all.

The cutoff point in admissions

A Bagrut diploma (or preparatory course diploma) is an essential precondition of admission to an institution of higher education in Israel. For many courses there is a dual-route admission process, either on the basis of Bagrut average alone, or on the basis of Bagrut average and PET score. Each institution has its own individual requirements for the courses it offers and is responsible for publicizing them. The following details apply to admission via the combination of Bagrut average and PET score.

Each institution calculates a combined score for each applicant on the basis of Bagrut results and PET score. This is called the “General Admission Score”, and reflects the applicant’s prospects of success in studying for a first degree. Each faculty ranks its applicants according to their General Admission Scores, and then each faculty sets a cutoff point. Applicants with a score above the cutoff point are accepted and those with a score below it are rejected.

The cutoff point in each faculty is typically a function of the number of places available, the number of applicants and their admission scores: the fewer the number of places, the greater the number of applicants, or the higher the standard of the applicants, the higher will the cutoff point be set. Some faculties set a minimum cutoff point in order to ensure that the students accepted will be at a sufficiently high academic level.

Applicants who are rejected because their admission score is below the cutoff point are not necessarily unsuitable for study in the faculty. There may have been enough applicants with higher scores to fill the available places. So a rejected applicant may be accepted in another year, or accepted in another faculty in the same institution or a similar faculty in another institution.

How are the scores calculated?

The date that you take the test and the language and version of the test that you take will not affect your score. The scoring method guarantees that even if you take the test along with a group of above-average or below-average ability, your score will be no different than if you had taken the test on another date.

The scores are calculated in a four step process:

1. Raw score in the writing assignment. Details of the method of calculating the score in the writing assignment may be found in the “Writing Assignment” section in the chapter “Information and Examples - Verbal Reasoning”, at this link. The writing assignment has been a part of the test since September 2012.

2. Raw scores in the multiple choice sections. Each correct answer is worth one point. The raw score for this section is equal to the number of correct answers.

3. Per-section scores. In order to compare the scores of examinees who took different versions of the test or took the test in different languages or on different dates, the raw scores of each in the writing assignment and the multiple choice tests in each of the three test domains are converted to a uniform scale. The verbal reasoning score includes the score in the writing assignment, weighted at 25%. The score in each of the three domains is on a scale from 50-150.

4. Final PET score. The final PET score is based on weighted averages, in which the scores in each test domain are assigned different weights. In the multi-domain score the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning scores are assigned double the weight of the score in English. In the quantitative-orientated score the quantitative reasoning score is assigned triple the weight of the other two. In the verbal-orientated score the verbal reasoning score is assigned triple the weight of the other two. The score in each type of final PET score is on a scale from 200-800.

A sample score calculation may be found here.


Summons for retesting

During the test evaluation, routine checks are made to confirm that every examinee’s score is a faithful reflection of his or her ability. Sometimes NITE has difficulty assessing a test score because of exceptional or inconsistent results or on account of technical issues.

If doubt arises concerning the reliability of a test for whatever reason - including those mentioned above - the examinee will be summoned for a retest at NITE’s Jerusalem office, and the test score will be frozen until the question is settled. After the retest NITE will take a decision concerning further treatment of the case.

The summons for retest is normally sent in writing to the affected examinees within six weeks of the test date, but may be sent later.

What is the meaning of “relative score” in the PET?

In most tests in the educational system the score is expected to reflect the level of the examinee’s understanding of the material and skills studied in the classroom. For example, an examinee with a score of 80 in geography presumably knows about 80% of the material and skills studied in geography lessons.

The PET score, on the other hand, does not reflect the examinee’s understanding of any specific content studied. Rather, it reflects the examinee’s ability in particular domains relative to other examinees. This is what we mean when we say that the PET score is a “relative score”. The only thing that one can tell about an examinee with a score of 120 in the verbal reasoning sections is that his verbal ability appears to be greater than that of examinees whose score is lower, and less than that of examinees whose score is higher.

In order to ensure that each examinee’s score depends only on ability and not on other factors specific to the particular test taken, the final score is calculated relatively to every PET examinee since the first test in December 1983. In other words, even if the examinees on the date when you take the test include many especially gifted students, this will not affect your final score (or theirs), since the scores are compared to those of every student examined to date. This is why the test date has no effect on the score. So examinees’ chief consideration when choosing a test date should be which date is most convenient for them.