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What are CASPer Quartiles?

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Previously, CASPer takers did not receive any indication of their score. However, this has recently changed, with the introduction of CASPer quartiles. Here, we will assess how scoring was conducted previously – and what’s changed from 2023/2024 onwards, with Acuity Insights now running the test.

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How was the CASPer test scored?

Before, a question that would frequently arise amongst those taking the CASPer test was whether they received their own test scores. The short answer was no, applicants did not receive their own CASPer test scores. Unlike traditional tests such as the SAT or ACT, the CASPer is not scored on a numerical scale. Instead, the test is scored by trained raters who evaluate an applicant’s responses based on a set of predefined criteria. The purpose of CASPer is not to determine whether an applicant is “right” or “wrong” but rather to assess their personal characteristics and determine whether they are a good fit for a particular program. Therefore, there is no pass or fail score, and applicants do not receive a numerical score or percentile ranking. It is important to note that specific CASPer scores and Snapshot reports are only released to the programs to which an applicant has applied (as is still the case). Applicants would not receive their own scores or reports in any way, shape or form, and this was done to protect the integrity of the test and ensure that all applicants were evaluated fairly and objectively. In reality, the ‘integrity of the test’ likely meant that Altus Assessments was trying to reduce the impact of coaching (or how much it could be proven that coaching was improving performance) as far as possible. Therefore, to conclude, in the past, no applicant received their own CASPer test scores. Instead, their performance was evaluated by trained raters using predefined criteria to assess their personal characteristics, and the only indication of their scores might be through a ranking process or threshold used by the schools that they had applied to – as scores were only sent directly to schools.

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What are CASPer quartiles?

As of 2023/2024, CASPer has introduced quartiles. First, you should note that CASPer admissions assessments results are processed and distributed to academic programs as a group, and that they are distributed directly to programs through distribution lists, and not through any external portal. Scores are made available around 2-3 weeks after the test takes place. At this point, applicants themselves do not receive any feedback on the test themselves. However, around one month after the test, applicants will receive a quartile. This will allow them some information on how they performed relative to their peers. CASPer quartiles are used as follows:

  • 25% of applicants score in the first quartile (0-24 percentile)
  • 25% of applicants score in the second quartile (25-49 percentile)
  • 25% of applicants score in the third quartile (50-74 percentile)
  • 25% of applicants score in the fourth quartile (75-100 percentile)

If we take as an example an applicant that scored in the fourth quartile, then they must have scored higher than at least 75% of all applicants. Likewise, applicants who scored in the second quartile scored higher than applicants in the first quartile, but lower than applicants in the third and fourth quartile. Therefore, they must have scored higher than at least 25% of applicants, but lower than at least 50%. Quartiles only compare you to other applicants – they do not tell you how many questions you got right or wrong.

Remember that most schools do not have specific cutoffs for the CASPer test (unlike the MCAT for example), which means that the quartile is unlikely to give you a clear indicator of whether you will have been accepted or rejected through the test, and in most cases an applicant that scores in the lowest quartile will still be eligible for admission.

It seems unlikely that Acuity Insights will release more information than this to test takers, as to do so would increasingly allow the extent to which coaching has an impact to become evident. Therefore, you must accept that your raw score will be sent to programs only, and that you will have to simply see your performance in quartile form.

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