[IPAC-List] developing normative data

Winfred Arthur, Jr. w-arthur at tamu.edu
Wed Sep 14 12:05:23 EDT 2016

Gene, probably not the short succinct ans you are looking for but a 
couple of things:

1.  you might to also take a look at the Standards, specifically chpt 
7.  standard 7.2 is not exactly a definition but provides the gist of 
what normative data are:

*Standard 7.2
The population for whom a test is intended and specifications for the 
test should be documented. If normative data are provided, the 
procedures used to gather the data should be explained; the norming 
population should be described in terms of relevant demographic 
variables; and the year(s) in which the data were collected should be 
reported. *

2.  when i was oo APA's CPTA, we spent several years in an effort to 
update the /Guidelines for Test User Qualifications/ (APA, 2001).  here 
is the pertinent text on normative data from the revised document.  fyi, 
b/c we were unable to get the revised doc through the APA system, if 
want a cite, then cite the 2001 version (Turner, S. M., DeMers, S. T., 
Fox, H. R., & Reed, G. M. (2001).  APA's guidelines for test user 
qualifications: An executive summary. American Psychologist, 56, 1099-1113.)

*/Reporting, interpreting, and communicating test scores./*
Test scores may be reported to a variety of stakeholders including but 
not limited to test takers, parents and guardians, educators, health 
care providers, potential or current employers, and even the courts. The 
test user should be able to report scores and provide related 
information in a manner that is not only accurate but also useful to the 
audience and/or consumer. As noted by the Standards, "[t]est scores 
ideally are interpreted in the light of the available data, the 
psychometric properties of the scores, indicators of effort, and the 
effect of moderator variables and demographic characteristics on test 
results." (AREA et al., 2014, p. 139).

Norms play an important role in the reporting, interpretation, and 
communication of test scores. *_Norms describe the distribution of test 
scores in a sample from a particular population._* [emphasis added]  The 
selection of normative data is important. For example, normative data or 
decision rules may not be accurate in some cases when (a) important 
characteristics of the examinee are not represented in the norm group, 
(b) administration or scoring procedures do not follow those used in 
standardizing the test, (c) characteristics of the test may affect its 
utility for the situation (e.g., ceiling and floor effects), (d) the 
test contains tasks that are not culturally relevant to the test taker, 
or (e) the validity evidence does not support decisions made on the 
basis of the test scores.

Test scores can be interpreted using either a norm-referenced or 
criterion-referenced approach. When a norm-referenced approach is used, 
test users should understand how differences between the test taker and 
the particular normative group may affect the interpretation of test 
scores. Factors to be considered in choosing norms include the types of 
norms, the manner in which they were generated and their relevance for 
interpreting test taker scores, and the characteristics of the normative 
group. When a criterion-referenced approach is used, test users should 
be knowledgeable of how the criterion was developed and the cut scores 

hope this is helpful.

- winfred

On 9/14/2016 9:31 AM, Joel Wiesen wrote:
> A pdf is attached with the most relevant definitions from two APA 
> Dictionaries: D of Psychology and D of Statistics.
> D of Psychology uses the exact term you use, Gene.
> Hope this helps.
> Joel
> - -
> Joel P. Wiesen, Ph.D., Director
> Applied Personnel Research
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> On 9/13/16 10:49 PM, Reindl, Kevin wrote:
>> Normative data I would define as data that represents what is 
>> typical, usual (or "normal") in a defined population at a specific 
>> point in time.
>> ...and a normative (or norm-referenced) score I would define as a 
>> score that represents a comparison to that normative data (e.g., 
>> percentile).
>> ...sorry, I do not have any references...
>> Kevin Reindl
>> Assessments & Organizational Insights
>> Human Resources, PG&E
>> Mobile: 619.322.3368
>> Office: 415.973.7013
>> On Sep 13, 2016, at 5:50 PM, Gene Carmean 
>> <GCarmean at med-tox.com<mailto:GCarmean at med-tox.com>> wrote:
>> This is an EXTERNAL EMAIL. Stop and think before clicking links or 
>> opening attachments.
>> *************************************
>> Hello List:
>> Does anyone have a definitive definition of normative data?  I have 
>> found articles describing their characteristics as
>> 1. Scores should come from  a randomly selected population.
>> 2. Scores should be fairly recent since they can change over time.
>> 3. Scores should be derived from a group similar to the one you are 
>> using as a comparison group, i.e., fitness scores of 12th graders are 
>> of little use when comparing them to NFL linebackers.
>> Are there any sources or other key points about norms I should know 
>> about?  I found this citation, but have no access to ETS articles.
>> Angoff, William H. Scales, norms, and equivalent scores. Educational 
>> testing service, 1984.
>> If anyone can assist with a source or other characteristics I would 
>> appreciate it.
>> Gene Carmean
>> MED-TOX Health Services
>> 3350 Shelby Street, Ste. 200
>> Ontario, California 91764
>> 909 944 3181 Tel
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