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Q: What are PeerPower Percentile Reports?
A: PeerPower Percentile Reports provide students, parents and teachers with a student's percentile score for the test they took. A percentile score tells you how a student did compared to other students who took the same test. For example, if a student's percentile score is 75, that means that student received a score the same or better than 75% of the other students who took that same test. Learn more about why percentiles matter. back to top
Q: Why doesn't my child get percentile scores when they get their test scores?
A: Most states created / use these standardized tests to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act and/or Every Student Succeeds Act, and those laws do not require that states calculate and provide percentile scores. Furthermore, and this gets a little technical/statistical, most state standardized tests are criterion-referenced tests, as compared to norm-referenced tests. Generally, states offer criterion-referenced tests because the state's goal is to see how many takers of the test simply pass - kind of like a driver's license exam. But at PeerPower we learned that percentile scores are good predictors of life outcomes, so we started PeerPower. back to top
Q: Why do I have to pay for this / why don't I get it for free?
A: States don't supply percentile scores (see above answer for why). Our children are growing up in a world where they are competing not just with other Americans but job seekers from all over the world. Parents know that a good education is more important than ever, and want to know if their children are on track, but they are either confused about test scores or don't believe they are valuable. While almost all researchers acknowledge that standardized tests don't measure everything important, there's a good deal of research showing that these tests do predict important long-term outcomes.PeerPower saw a need to provide percentiles to parents, students, teachers, and administrators and our company was born. But you may still be able to get access to our reports for free if your school or PTA / PTO purchases access for the whole school. Please contact us to learn more. back to top
Q: Who is PeerPower?
A: Michael Nolan (LinkedIn) is the founder of PeerPower. He lives in Fairfax County, Virginia. He and his wife are the very fortunate parents of two amazing sons - one attends Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology and one attends George C. Marshall High School. back to top
Q: How can I use PeerPower Percentile Reports?
A: PeerPower customers (typically parents) use the percentile scores in different ways. Some customers simply feel better having a more complete picture of where a student ranks compared to his or her peers. There are many other scenarios where percentile scores are valuable, here are the most common examples:
Recent research has shown that students with higher percentile scores are more likely to graduate high school, attend and complete college, and have higher incomes.
Others have used the percentile scores to understand where a student ranks if the student's score declined from one year to the next because the test became more difficult. For example, if Ryan took the 3rd Grade Math test and got a 500, but the next year the Math tests got harder and Ryan's score declined to 450, a PeerPower percentile score could tell a parent that Ryan was in the same percentile for both years, because the test got harder for everyone. In that situation, a parent might be concerned when a student's score declined, but when they learn the percentile score stayed the same, many parents value that information because it gives them a better picture of where the student stands academically.
PeerPower Percentile Reports can be an early warning signal about how your child performs on standardized tests.
One parent told us how she thought her straight-A multiple varsity sport daughter would for sure attend an Ivy league school or similar but when she "bombed the SAT" her daughter "did not even get into [the fourth most selective state school in her state]". This parent told us that she would have used PeerPower to help identify standardized test challenges earlier and to take steps to help her daughter become better at standardized tests.
PeerPower Percentile Reports can be shared with students if parents feel that it would be helpful. back to top
Q: Should I share the PeerPower percentile report(s) with my child?
A: You know your child best. Some kids will be motivated to continue to work hard (or harder) at school when they know where they stand compared to their peers. back to top
Q: Don't PeerPower Percentile Reports just feed into the whole competition rat-race/win at all costs attitude that is already too common in our society?
A: At some point many parents have the conversation with their children about how the world works - and part of that means that your child will be compared to their peers. Does that mean when that comparison happens your child always has to win? Of course not. However, it's safe to say at some point your child will be compared to peers in a situation that matters to them and they will want to stand out compared to those peers. Whether it's when they apply for a magnet school / internship / college / graduate school / job / loan, start a business, or even when appealing to a potential significant other! Does this mean they should live their life constantly comparing themselves to their peers? Again, of course not. Every parent and child will decide on an individual basis in what parts of their life a child will want to stand out compared to their peers. School and standardized tests are a way to introduce this concept to our children and to give them an opportunity to practice at it. But it's up to you, the parent, to decide whether and when that conversation happens. back to top
Q: Where does PeerPower get the data to compute the Percentile Reports?
A: States provide PeerPower with the anonymous data we use to compute the Percentile Reports. back to top
Q: Is PeerPower's data current?
A: Yes. States provide PeerPower with the anonymous data we use to compute the Percentile Reports soon after they have finished processing the scores. This is usually right after they send scores to parents. When you order from PeerPower we email you whenever the data has been updated (different states update at different times during the year). But this is also the good thing about having annual access. When the data is updated you can come back and check your student's percentiles. Typically, though, the State and District percentiles don't change much from year to year. The School percentiles can be more volatile because they are based on a smaller set of students - just the students who took that test at your student's school, as opposed to the entire school district or state. back to top
Q: If States provide the data, isn't that a violation of my child's privacy?
A: States that provide data to PeerPower strip any identifying information from the data - so the data states provide us do not have gender or race information, and this allows states to comply with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). PeerPower doesn't know what score your child received - that is why you need to know what score your child received in order to get their Percentile Report. back to top
Q: How do I find my child's PeerPower Percentile Report if I don't know what score they received?
A: The How it Works page shows you how to find your child's PeerPower Percentile Report. If you don't have your child's score, simply stop by, call, or email your school and request another copy of your child's score report. back to top
Q: You don't have Percentile Reports for [your state / your school district ], how come?
A: Please use the contact us page to request your state / school district. We now have PeerPower Percentile Reports for SOL tests taken in every school district in Virginia, PARCC tests taken in every school district in Maryland, and MCAS tests taken in every school district in Massachusetts! back to top
Q: I put in all the right information for my child's test but there were no results, how come?
A: The most common reason this happens is you have requested a test that was not given at the school you selected. Make sure you entered a valid test/school combination. For example, Algebra I is not usually given in elementary schools, but some parents get PeerPower Percentile Reports for an elementary school child first and then go on to select a test for an older High School child without updating the school. We are working on making this easier for our customers. If you still think you entered a valid request and got no results, please contact us with the State/School Year/School District/School/Test information for the test your child took, and we will get back to you. back to top
Q: Doesn't my state already release this information?