How to score standard progressive matrices

Written by jayne thompson Google
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How to score standard progressive matrices
An SPM is an aptitude test. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The Raven Progressive Matrices tests were first developed by J.C. Raven to assess the genetic and environmental determinants of intelligence. His principle has evolved into a set of Standardised Progressive Matrices (SPMs). These are non-verbal mental reasoning tests which require the solution of problems. For example, a candidate might be presented with series of diagrams with a part missing and a multiple choice selection of possible answers for the missing part. SPMs measure observation skills, clear thinking, and the ability to extract reason from ambiguity. They are typically used as a candidate selection tool in the job market. Both the tests, and the way they are scored, is standardised.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Administer the test. Mark the answers against the correct answers given in the test answer booklet. The result is the candidate's raw score.

  2. 2

    Establish your norm group. The SPM is a comparison test. It is intended to show how the aptitude and intelligence of one individual compares with that of another, so a raw score on its own means very little. Your norm group is the set of people you wish to compare. If, for example, you have ten job applicants sitting the SPM, your norm group will comprise those ten people. Check that you have the same raw data for each member of your norm group. Old SPMs were scored in a different way to the new tests. You can convert data between the old Raven tests and the new standardised Pearson tests using a table (see Resources).

  3. 3

    Compare the results for your norm group. You can compare the (converted) raw scores, or you can use the percentile comparison technique. This sets the average raw score as the 50th percentile on a chart and plots everyone else's score in relation to it, such that a candidate on the 80th percentile will have achieved a score that is better than, or equal to, 80% of people in the norm group.

  4. 4

    For a bigger picture, compare the percentile score for each candidate against national or international data. Raw scores come with a national or international percentile figure (this will be given in the scoring booklet). This places the individual on a percentile graph compiled from the results of a much larger norm group of test-takers, usually organised by age. You can use this to assess a candidate's performance against that of the wider population.

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