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10-point scale versus Percent

“Can I convert results reported on a 10-point scale to a percentage?”

Results presented as a 10-point scale cannot be converted to a percentage by simply multiplying the result by 10.

A percentage represents the number of participants who scored above a theoretically driven cut-point. Each participant is placed into a group, either above or below the cut point, and then the percentage of participants who fall above the cut point is calculated. For example, the chart below shows that 82% of students have positive sense of belonging.

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Percentages are used to evaluate the presence or absence of a trait (e.g. bullying). They are designed to distinguish between students who have a particular behaviour or trait of interest, and those who do not. In the chart above, 82% of students have a positive sense of belonging, whereas the remaining 18% of students do not.

On the other hand, 10-point scales are used when we are more interested in how students are evaluating a particular topic (e.g. effective learning time). With 10 point scales, we are expecting students to respond more consistently as they should be having the same experience at school (although there will be some variability among students responses).

Results represented on a 10-point scale are calculated differently, as once survey takers respond to questions with response options such as “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree” each response option is assigned a score. An average measure score is calculated that represents the degree to which students agree or disagree with the questions. These measure scores are aggregated, or combined, which provide us with the overall result that you see in the charts.

For example, the chart below shows Advocacy results are 8.1 on a 10-point scale. When reviewing 10-point scale results it is important to interpret them in the context of the response scale. For the results below, this falls in line with “2 to 3 Times a Week.” Remember, the result of 8.1 cannot be reported as 81% as the chart is not saying that 81% of students have an advocate at school.

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Advocacy at school

Students respond to 3 Likert questions about whether they have someone at school who consistently provides encouragement and who can be turned to for advice.


How often does someone at your school do each of the following?

(Never, Once a Week, 2 to 3 times a Week, Almost Every Day)

    • My teachers show interest in my school projects.
    • My teachers ask me about how well I am doing at school.
    • My teachers encourage me to do well at school.

The results are reported as "the average score for advocacy at school".

Scores are assigned based on the following scale:

  • Never: 0 - 3.33
  • Once a Week: 3.34 - 6.67
  • 2 to 3 Times a Week: 6.68 - 9.99
  • Almost Every Day: 10