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Normative and ipsative test scores
Normative and ipsative test scores

What does it mean for a test to be normative or ipsative?

Morgan Pihl avatar
Written by Morgan Pihl
Updated over a week ago

Psychological tests are commonly divided into two distinct types: normative and ipsative. Normative tests provide scores that are calculated in relation to some group of people - a norm group. Ipsative tests provide scores without reference to any external data, but rather compared to other scales within the same test.

Most personality tests used in high-stakes settings (like recruitment) and in research are normative. It is generally not recommended to use ipsative tests for comparing  or ranking individuals.

Alva's personality test gives you scores that are calculated using Item Response Theory. This means that item characteristics are taken into account in the calculation, rather than comparing your scores to a specific norm group. Data from a large sample of test takers was used to estimate the item characteristics in a process called 'parameter estimation'. Read more about this process here.

In Alva's Team Insights, we present your personality in relation to your company or team. We believe that personality is most informative in a clear context, and that the most meaningful context is your close colleagues. Read more here.

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