The National Percentile Rank (NPR) helps parents determine how their child's testing performance compares with that of other students'. Of particular consequence are the NPR's for Reading Total, Language (ELA) Total, Math Total, Social Studies, and Science – the five subjects referenced in WV code 18-8-1. However, the Complete Composite NPR may really be the more important to the parent overall. The composite is weighted, contains scores from all subtests in the battery, and is generally considered the best indicator of the student’s performance. For the WV law, the mean of the five subjects is paramount. But for the parent’s purpose, the composite scores (green arrows below) are more instructive.
The Core Composite, previously called the "Core Total," can also be quite helpful. It is a weighted score based only on the “three R” subjects of reading, language and math, excluding the social studies and science scores. Homeschoolers often study history and geography more than is in the typical public school “social studies” course - which includes almost exclusively politically correct thought, urban and rural considerations, ecology, minority issues, and political/government issues. As a result, the social studies score does not always reflect the education and worldview of the typical homeschooled student. Likewise, science doesn’t always reflect the homeschooler’s course of study - which often centers on actual observational and experimental science rather than on evolutionary origins. That being the case, the Core Composite can be quite helpful.
But for county reporting, parents will still look at the NPR scores for the five required subjects. (See horizontal arrows below.) Like before, the average of those five scores will be taken. The resultant mean will then correspond to a stanine distribution.
The graphic below illustrates how the percentile ranks compare with the stanine score. Percentile ranks are the result of a distribution of scores on a bell curve. The bell curve is divided into 9 stanine ranks, each containing a range of percentile ranks. The 4th stanine begins at the 23rd percentile rank, which is the beginning of average. Therefore, the law’s new standard (within or above the 4th stanine) includes all scores in the average range.
So after obtaining the mean of the Reading Total, ELA (English Language Arts), Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science scores, that mean will fall within one of the stanine ranks. If the mean falls within or above the 4th stanine, the child is said to have made “acceptable progress” according to WV code 18-8-1. If it falls below but is improved from the previous year, it is still “acceptable.” If it falls below and is not improved from the previous year, the score is not acceptable by state code and remediation is required.