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Published: Wednesday, 18 May, 2016 09:30 AM
Percentile and Percentage are both methods of measuring the performance of a person in a test or exam. It’s a way of evaluation, which tells the person how he/she has fared in a test or exam. Their similarity is restricted to the fact that both of them, directly or indirectly, help in comparing two or more scores. Both these terms, however, have different meanings, as well as, usages and different methods are used to calculate them.
A percentage is the most commonly used indicator of performance. It is a proportion that represents how large one quantity is in relation to another quantity, where the first quantity expresses a part of, or a change in, the second quantity. As they are easily calculated and easily convey information about proportions. The formula for calculating percentage is: nxN 100 = %, where ‘n’ is the quantity of interest and ‘N’ is the total quantity.
A percentile on the other hand, is a score at or below which a certain percentage of the set of data lies. They are useful in that they divide the set of data into 100 equal parts and reveal the relative placement of a score in the set.The formula for calculating percentile is:
Number of students scored marks less than particular
Percentile of candidate= marks in the Examination in that respective batch x 100
Total number of students appeared for the Examination
for that particular respective batch
In other words, a percentile rank is used for determining the relative standing of an individual in the given group.
The two terms are often confused with each other, especially during MBA entrances. MBA institutions use percentile and not percentage to determine the cut off lists and individual ranks. Since MBA is a popular programme and evinces interest from aspirants from across the nation and even globally, it is conducted in multiple sessions with multiple sets of paper, the difficulty levels of which vary from session to session.
The percentile method aims to neutralise this variation. While, calculating the percentage in this case will reveal the proportion of correct responses, a percentile will reveal compare an individual performance with others in the group.
The percentile of a student depends upon how many students have scored below that particular score. For instance, a percentile rank of 90% means that 10% test takers performed well or better than the candidate getting 90% and 90% did not do as well.
Percentiles are a great way of gauging the real performance of a candidate. Percentages reveal only an individual’s performance, a percentile compares his/her performance with others, which is useful information in an exam like the MBA entrance. For the candidate too, a percentile rank tells him/her his true position and can motivate him/her to work harder the next time. A percentile score is also difficult to manipulate at the institution level.
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