How to Calculate a Standard Score

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Standard score is a statistics term. The standard score shows how far away from the mean a score falls. It is also known as a z-score. Using a z-score table, you can find where the score falls on the table and figure out what percentile the score falls in. This is a way of standardizing tests in order to curve the scores to fit around the mean. If everyone does poorly on a test, the score distribution will curve up to fit around the average score on the test.

    Find the mean and standard deviation of your data set. For example, assume you have a data set with a mean of 24 and a standard deviation of 5. You want to find the standard score of 28 in the data set.

    Subtract the mean from the data for which you want a standard score. In the example, 28 minus 24 equals 4.

    Divide the difference between the data and the mean by the standard deviation. In the example, 4 divided by 5 equals a standard score of 0.8. You can use this score on a z table to see where it falls as a percentage of the rest of the scores.

    Things You'll Need

    • Data set
    • Mean of data set
    • Standard deviation of data set


About the Author

Carter McBride started writing in 2007 with CMBA's IP section. He has written for Bureau of National Affairs, Inc and various websites. He received a CALI Award for The Actual Impact of MasterCard's Initial Public Offering in 2008. McBride is an attorney with a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Science in accounting from the University of Connecticut.

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  • calculator image by Henryk Olszewski from