Standard Score: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Stanines: Definition & Explanation

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is a Standard Score?
  • 1:47 Calculating Standard Scores
  • 2:17 Percentiles
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

Standard scores are an easy way to compare scores, making it possible to compare unusual things that are not in the same category. Several IQ tests use multiple tests that are combined into one IQ score.

What Is a Standard Score?

To work with numbers, they need to be in the same language. For instance, if we're describing someone's results after taking three separate tests, the following doesn't mean anything to you: Test 1 completed in 3 minutes, Test 2 with no mistakes, and Test 3 has 30 questions answered. Instead, if we were to say: based on their test results, the person has an IQ of 100, would this make more sense?

Standard Score is a set of scores that have the same mean and standard deviation so they can be compared. We will use IQ as our common example to stitch all of this together. Mean is the average of all of the scores and in the very center of a plotted graph of scores (this will be explored later). The mean, or average, IQ is 100. Standard deviation is a way of dividing up the standard scores. This would be easier to see in graph form.

The different colors of the graph seen here are standard deviations. Standard deviation is a mathematical way of grouping people together based on how much variance there is in the set of scores. If you look at the red line on 100, the blue group to your right is considered one positive standard deviation. In that blue group is 34.1% of the population (you won't be tested on specific percentages). If you combine it with the green group just to the left of the red line, you have everything within one standard deviation of the average (average is 100), or 68.2% of the population. One standard deviation equals 34.1%; combining both above and below the standard deviation, you get 68.2%. Standard deviations are a little tricky, but they allow for easy groupings and predictions.

Calculating Standard Scores

Standard scores are calculated by taking the raw score and transforming it to a common scale. There is not one formula to convert any score into a standard score. Each standard score's formula is connected to its raw score and what is trying to be said. Back to the IQ example: Test 1 completed in 3 minutes, Test 2 with no mistakes, and Test 3 has 30 questions answered. These results are compared to others, and this translates into an IQ of 100.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account