Performance Series®

Creating more opportunities for educators to quickly pinpoint student proficiency levels and instructional needs across a range of subjects.
Performance Series
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How It Works
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Performance Series?

Performance Series is an online standards-based adaptive measurement that Scantron Corporation has developed to assess student gains and placement. Performance Series works with national, state, and district standards. Performance Series, and uses a computer-adaptive testing engine that relies upon Item Response Theory (IRT) calibration. The computer adaptive testing engine ensures that all content units are covered, and uses the IRT-based item bank of questions and difficulty indices to provide reliability and accuracy.

Is Performance Series a criterion-referenced test or a norm-referenced test?

Performance Series is both. The main difference between a criterion-referenced test and a norm-referenced test is not the test itself, but the interpretation of the results. In a criterion-referenced test students are assessed on their performance in relation to a set of criteria. In a norm-referenced test students are assessed on their performance within the norm group. Performance Series is designed to measure individual performance; therefore, it is a criterion-referenced test. However, National Percentile Rankings are also provided to show how students performed on the test compared to a national norm sample.

How Reliable and Valid Is Performance Series?

Based on extensive research performed over more than 15 years, we have determined that the reliability coefficient of Performance Series is 0.91—a very high reliability rating (0.7 is considered a minimum acceptable rating).

Does Performance Series align to specific state standards?

Yes, a Curriculum Alignment Guide is used to align state standards to learning objectives assessed in Performance Series. If a Curriculum Alignment Guide is applied, the reports will display the state's standards next to the appropriate learning objectives in Performance Series.

Does Performance Series align to the Common Core state Standards?

Yes. Performance Series can be aligned to specific state or local standards, to the Common Core State Standards or to a custom combination of both sets of standards. Customization and reporting code display allow districts to easily transition from their current standards to the Common Core—or to use a combination of both. For more information on the Common Core State Standards, please visit

What units are covered?

Reading contains the following units: Vocabulary, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Long Passage. Math contains the following units: Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis & Probability, and Number & Operations. Language Arts includes Capitalization, Parts of Speech, Punctuation, and Sentence Structure. Life Science includes Living Things, Ecology, and Science Processes.

Are Performance Series tests timed?

No, the students should be allowed as much time as needed to take the test.

How Long Does The Test Take?

The test takes an average 45 mins per subject area to complete.

Can Performance Series Be Completed In A Single Class Period?

In most cases, yes. However higher- and lower-performing students may require more time. If time is an issue, ask about PS Express, Scantron’s shorter version of the test. Your representative can discuss the pros and cons of this shorter test.

How Many Test Items Does Each Student Receive?

Since the test is computer adaptive, each student will receive a unique test and the number of items may vary. There are not a set number of questions. The average number of questions in a testing session is about 50.

What happens if the test is stopped?

If a test is stopped before a student has finished, the test will resume at exactly the same spot where the student left off.

How often can Performance Series be administered?

Scantron recommends the test be given no more than three times a year, with at least a 12-week window between tests, to provide the lowest standard error of measurement and ensure reliability and validity.

Do all students see the same test?

No, since Performance Series is computer adaptive, each test is unique for every student. Even if two students happen to receive the same test question, the answers are scrambled, which increases test security.

Does Performance Series fulfill Title I requirements?

Yes, Performance Series can be used as a multiple measure of assessment and can show annual yearly progress by measuring gains on a consistent scale. The user is also able to create groups, such as Free/Reduced Lunch, Before School/After School Programs, etc., to measure gains by specified groups. In addition, within the reports, the user is able to select students according to specified demographics, such as ethnicity, gender, etc.

How long does the test take?

The test takes an average of one hour per subject area to complete. However, if a student's ability level is significantly different than their assigned grade level, the test may take longer to adjust for this difference. Scantron recommends reserving two one-hour class periods to allow for set-up time and testing time.

How many test items does each student receive?

Since the test is computer adaptive, each student will receive a unique test and the number of items may vary. There are not a set number of questions. The average number of questions in a testing session is about 50.

Are there different levels of reports available?

Yes, reports are available at the student, course, class, school, district, sub-district, county, and state levels.

What types of reports are available?

Depending on the user's level of access, the following reports are available: Course Reports, Staff Reports, Grade Level Reports, Student Reports, Group Reports, Testing Status Reports, Class Reports, District/School Reports, Gains/History Reports, Distribution Reports, Suggested Learning Objectives, and Class Profile Reports. Within each of these reports, the user is able to sort results according to specified demographics.

Can the students use scratch paper for Math Performance?

The students can and should have a pencil and scratch paper available to them for their use.

Can the students use calculators?

We recommend that if assessment items were developed in a manner that does not require the use of a calculator, then calculators should not be used except to meet accommodation needs. For higher level mathematics and science assessments, we recommend that the district follow the same procedures for calculator use observed in these specific courses. In regards to Scantron-created content, Performance Series mathematics items as well as Scantron Achievement Series item banks were designed under the following criteria regarding calculator use:

  • Calculators are not needed for content in grades K–6
  • Four-function calculators may be needed for content in grades 7 and 8
  • Scientific calculators will be needed for content in higher level mathematics and science assessments

Can the students use formulas for Math Performance?

A formula or table of formulas is given in the question only if the learning objective is not intended to test knowledge of the formula. We do not recommend that a hard copy of formulas be given to the students.

Is training on Performance Series available?

Training is available on site, via webinar, and through e-learning modules built directly into the website