In a statement issued to Sabq Online Newspaper, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Rasheed, NCA spokesperson and head of Communication, Public Relations, and Media, said that scoring procedures related to the university admission exams offered by NCA, including GAT and SAAT, are based on the standard benchmark which has a consistent mean and normal or close-to-normal distribution.
He added that NCA has adopted a score of 65 points as a standard mean, which means that average students obtain 65 points compared to their peers, while outstanding students are those who answer all questions and score a maximum of 100 points. This is applied to all tests while maintaining a balance between tests in cases where the sample of test-takers is not an accurate representation of the student population.
Al-Rasheed also addressed the issue some students raised concerning the consistency of their scores when they retook the exam explaining that it is normal in such cases that some students achieve higher or lower scores, while others achieve the same score. This is controlled by the test-taker’s condition and his achievement level compared to the group of test-takers taking the exam with him. Approximately 7% of those who retook the SAAT achieved the same score, which is normal compared to previous testing sessions of both SAAT and GAT. Furthermore, the score a student obtains on a test is obtained by correcting his test without taking into consideration his performance on previous attempts. Comparisons are only conducted for quality assurance purposes.
“NCA has undertaken all necessary procedures to ensure the quality of calculations and scoring formulae before announcing results, and there are no errors or issues as some students think. NCA is keen on the accuracy and reliability of the scores upholding transparency in cases of errors”, Al-Rasheed added.
Further, Al-Rasheed explained that when a student achieves a similar score on a retake, this is due to the reliability of the test and the validity of the scoring process for different versions. If a student’s score remains the same in the retake, this means that the variables and circumstances affecting his performance have not changed and the sample of test-takers has not changed either.
He added that NCA has issued a technical report to address the issue which was raised by some students regarding their scores. The report compares last year’s (1439) SAAT scores with this year’s scores. It also shows that average differences have increased by 0.555 points in the current year, and that 7% of the students have achieved the same score, while nearly 42% have obtained higher scores on the retake with an average increase of 5 points. This performance is considered close to the distribution of segments and better in terms of average differences when compared to last year’s retake scores. These data goes against any allegations that retake scores were lower this year.
Finally, Al-Rasheed concluded, “It is worth noting that the Center gives students the highest score they obtain in any of their attempts, and scores are updated on the e-portal which communicates with universities for admission purposes as soon as the scores are approved. Further, the opportunity to retake the admission test and choose the highest score is not made available in all countries that enforce unified admission tests, in addition to exams that are administered by universities which are offered only once”.