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Understanding your Predictive Index score

So, you’ve administered or taken a Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment or Cognitive Assessment. Now what? 

You’re probably wondering what to make of the results, and how the Predictive Index tests work. Much of that answer depends on your goals for filling a given role. Neither the behavioral nor the cognitive assessment is a “test” that you pass or fail, but understanding your Predictive Index scores gets easier with the proper context.

So let’s get into it. In this post, we’ll cover nuanced FAQs and some common applications of the results, including:

  • What’s the average cognitive score?
  • What is the norm group?
  • What is the scaled score?
  • What are the PI Assessment cutoff scores?
  • Predictive Index Reference Profiles

Above all else, if you’re using assessments in the workplace, it’s imperative to remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Assessments can aid in hiring decisions, so long as their utility is strictly job-related, and not in any way discriminatory. Equitable, responsible assessment use means viewing these tools as additional data points in a broad set. 

Applied responsibly, PI’s BA and CA are great tools for increasing objectivity and gathering behavioral data you might not glean from a typical interview process.

Understanding your Predictive Index scores

What is the average cognitive score?

The average cognitive Scaled Score is 250, which translates to a raw score of 20. This average score was established during assessment development, using what’s called a “Reference Group.” That group, on average, scored 19.8 points out of a possible 50, which translates to 250. 

What is the norm group?

It’s important to have the right context for this term. The norm group—or representative sample—is key to these assessments’ scientific validity. It is not, as commonly assumed, a tool for comparing candidates who take these assessments. 

The global norm groups are not used to compare candidates to each other, as the PI assessments are not normative assessments; rather, they’re criterion assessments. That means candidates are compared to a job target (criterion) rather than being compared against each other (i.e., who scored the highest out of the pool).

At PI, we use global norm groups for other purposes:

  • We have a global norm group that demonstrates the PI Behavioral Assessment scores work comparably across regions. Region-specific analyses have shown this holds true. This is especially important for our clients whose business spans multiple countries.
  • A large global norm group also helps us study the psychometric properties of the PI Cognitive Assessment. We do report some normative data for informational purposes, but these are supplied for context, and are not to be used in making a hiring decision.

For the PI Cognitive Assessment

The norm group, also referred to as the Reference Group for the CA, is a sample comprising more than 288,000 assessment results, representative of an adult working population. 

The Reference Group is used to determine the job function target scores in The Predictive Index’s Target Scoring Guide, and it’s the sample that underlies the normative plots in the PI Cognitive Assessment report for respondents.

While the CA is a criterion-referenced assessment (meaning candidates are compared to a job target, rather than compared to each other), the Reference Group was used to develop job function mean scores in the Target Scoring Guide.

For the PI Behavioral Assessment

For the BA, a norm group is critical to the calculation of pattern scores, which are the basis of end user reporting and interpretation. Specifically, it was used to develop the norm tables that allow us to score behavioral assessments, compute workplace behavior factor patterns, and develop our 17 Reference Profiles.

Specifically, a norm sample of 9,645 respondents was collected to establish norms for “Form V” (the sample was representative of an adult working population). Fifty-eight percent of the respondents in the final normative sample were from North America, and 42 percent were from other countries (125 countries were represented in the sample).

What is the scaled score?

The scaled score is a percentile rank of the raw CA scores, ranging from 100 to 450.

Scaled scores were developed because raw scores are not always comparable from person to person, depending on which revision of the assessment was taken or whether the respondent received an extended time accommodation.

Scaled scores are calculated to be comparable and standardized for everyone. So, anyone who received a scaled score of 270 is always a good match for a job with a target of 270, regardless of which form of the assessment was administered.

By providing extended-time versions of the PI Cognitive Assessment, we made a minor change as to how we measure cognitive ability (i.e., using scaled scores), so that people who take different versions can be compared to the target score fairly.

Individuals who take extended versions of the CA receive more time, but still receive the same types and number of questions.

The scaled score linking is there to balance out the extended time, so that people who are granted that accommodation do not get a scoring advantage. Rather, they are scored comparably to those who take the 12-minute CA.

Understanding your Predictive Index scores

What are the PI Assessment cutoff scores?

We don’t recommend the use of cutoff scores for either the BA or the CA. Instead, we recommend and enable the use of match scores.

Match scores measure a candidate’s Factor Scores of Cognitive Scaled Score against a job target established by the hiring team. This enables a fair and standardized selection process, as candidates are compared to a specific criterion or job target (not each other).

It also allows the hiring team to review candidates as they compare to the target, versus ruling a candidate out if they did not meet the target perfectly. A “cutoff score” implies you might remove a candidate from the selection process if they aren’t a perfect match, which we do not recommend.

Various members of the hiring team input information regarding the requirements of a specific role, which results in ranges for Factor Scores, as well as a Cognitive Target score. 

Based on the candidate’s results, a match score for both the BA and CA, as well as an overall match score, are produced.

BA match scores are calculated by a formula in which each behavioral factor is evaluated against the job target range for that factor. Any factor that falls within the target range is considered to be a perfect match. If it does not fall within the range, the factor is evaluated against the target on a sliding scale in which the match score is lowered as the candidate’s score grows further from the target range. Each factor is given equal weight in the final behavioral match score. 

CA match scores are calculated based on their distance from the cognitive job target. If a candidate’s cognitive score is the same as or higher than the target, then the match score is a ten. There is no penalty for being above the target because there is no evidence to suggest that being above the target has a negative impact on job performance. If a cognitive score is below the target, then points are deducted on a sliding scale.

Icons for each of the 17 reference profiles

Predictive Index Reference Profiles

Every person who takes a BA and CA has their own unique behavioral pattern. But, for the sake of hiring fit, we’ve established 17 different Reference Profiles to help put names to similar patterns. 

This is not to say that every Analyzer is the same, or that you can expect everyone with a Venturer profile to act identically. The groupings are rooted in science, but like any behavioral data point, a Reference Profile is only as useful as the other data it’s applied alongside.

With great power comes great responsibility. That said, here are the 17 PI Reference Profiles, sorted by “neighborhood.” 

Analytical Profiles

  • Analyzer – Analyzers tend to demand a lot of details and will collect all relevant facts before forming a decision. 
  • Controller – Controllers are fast-paced and self-disciplined. They are always pushing themselves to get things done correctly.
  • Venturer – Venturers are always pushing past and exploring boundaries. They look for ways to drive the business forward.  
  • Specialists – Specialists are introspective, err on the side of caution, and are very loyal to authority. 
  • Strategist – The strategist looks at the big picture. They look toward the future and think about how decisions can benefit the whole business.

Social Profiles

  • Altruist – Altruists are accurate, supportive, humble, and helpful workplace colleagues.  
  • Captain – These individuals have a strong will, are very independent, and are open to any change. 
  • Collaborator – Collaborators are often characterized as empathetic, cooperative, and patient. 
  • Maverick – These individuals tend to adopt leadership positions. They are visionaries and have high aspirations. 
  • Promoter – Promoters are extraverted and charismatic. They are popular and widely liked. 
  • Persuader – Persuaders don’t easily take no for an answer. They are well-spoken and likable, and they know how to motivate others. 

Stabilizing Profiles

  • Adapter – Adapters can take on different types of roles. They are typical generalists.
  • Artisan – These individuals listen more than they talk, and are reliable workers.
  • Guardian – Guardians tend to bring precision and structure to their place of work. 
  • Operator – Operators are informal, relaxed, and reliable individuals. They tend to be patient and cooperative.  

Persistent Profiles

  • Individualist – Individualists are strong-minded and tackle challenges with confidence. They are analytical and persistent.  
  • Scholar – Scholars are knowledgeable yet reserved individuals. 

Try PI for yourself.

Curious about the power of PI? Take the PI Behavioral Assessment, and get instant insights into your natural workplace drives and needs. It takes just six minutes, and it’s free.

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Dana Auten, PhD, is the Lead Product Scientist at The Predictive Index.

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