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# What is percentile rank?

The percentile rank of a score is the percentage of scores in its frequency distribution that are lower than it. For example, a test score that is greater than 75% of the sc…ores of people taking the test is said to be at the 75th 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 often normally distributed ("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 whose difference in percentile ranks is the same. For example, 50 â 25 = 25 is not the same distance as 60 â 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. The mathematical formula is.
where cf â is the cumulative frequency for all scores lower than the score of interest, Æ i is the frequency of the score of interest, and N is the number of examinees in the sample. If the distribution is normallydistributed, the percentile rank can be inferred from the standard score. (MORE)