PAT student achievement is measured in PAT scale scores. PAT tests within a learning area are all equated onto a common scale using Rasch scaling methodologies. A student’s PAT scale score establishes where they are on a learning continuum.
A scale score is a numerical value given to a student whose achievement has been measured by completing an assessment. A student's scale score lies at a point somewhere on the achievement scale, and it indicates that student's level of achievement in that particular learning area — the higher the scale score, the more able the student.
Regardless of the test level or items administered to students, they will be placed on the same scale for the learning area. This makes it possible to directly compare students' achievement and to observe students' progress within a learning area by comparing their scale scores from multiple testing periods over time.
A score on a Reading scale, for example, has no meaning on the Maths scale. In fact, the units of the scale will have different meanings for each scale. This is because these units are calculated based on the range of student levels of achievement, which vary widely between learning areas.
Students in the same achievement band are operating at approximately the same achievement level within a learning area regardless of their school year level.
Viewing student achievement in terms of achievement bands may assist you to group students of similar abilities. By referencing the achievement band descriptions, you can understand the types of skills typical of students according to their band.