Tools for Social Work

Using Standardization and the Normal Curve to Enhance your Social Work Practice, Education & Research

Percentile and Percentile Rank

Posted by nepeht on November 24, 2008

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percentile.

A percentile is the value of a variable below which a certain percent of observations fall. So the 20th percentile is the value (or score) below which 20 percent of the observations may be found. The term percentile and the related term percentile rank are often used in descriptive statistics as well as in the reporting of scores from norm-referenced tests.

The 25th percentile is also known as the first quartile(Q1); the 50th percentile as the median or second quartile(Q2); the 75th percentile as the third quartile (Q3).

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percentile_rank.

The percentile rank of a score is the percentage of scores in its frequency distribution which are lower. For example, a test score which is greater than 85% of the scores of people taking the test is said to be at the 85th percentile. Percentile ranks are commonly used to clarify the interpretation of scores on standardized tests. For the test theory, the percentile rank of a raw score is interpreted as the percentages of examinees in the norm group who scored below the score of interest.[1]

Percentile ranks (PRs or “percentiles”) are normally distributed and bell-shaped while normal curve equivalents (NCEs) are uniform and rectangular in shape. Percentile ranks are not on an equal-interval scale; that is, the difference between any two scores is not the same between any other two scores. For example, 50 – 25 = 25 is not the same distance as 60 – 35 = 25 because of the bell-curve shape of the distribution. Some percentile ranks are closer to some than others. Percentile rank 30 is closer on the bell curve to 40 than it is to 20.

From Wikipedia

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