Now that we know this year’s (unofficial) National Merit Commended cutoff score is a 209, we wanted to take a look back at how we did, and what this means for our Semifinalist predictions. To clarify, while the NMSC has not officially posted this score on their website, we have had multiple reports from parents and students who have contacted NMSC directly. Until further notice, we will proceed with this score in mind as the (unofficial) Commended student cutoff score.
How did we do?
Taking a look back at our Updated PSAT Cutoffs post, our range for Commended was between a 200-210, but more importantly, our estimate for North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming were 210’s. Historically, these states’ NMSF scores have generally coincided with the national Commended cutoff, and with only a 1-point difference between the two, it seems that our model is performing quite well. This bodes well for the rest of our predictions, which we hope will prove to be accurate once the official NMSF cutoff scores are announced.
What does this Commended score mean for students?
Firstly, it’s important to note that while the ND, SD, WV, and WY scores have historically lined up with the national Commended cutoff score, this is by no means a guarantee that any of these states’ NMSF cutoffs will be a 209. If you look at the historical data, these scores have shown subtle fluctuations, so we cannot say for certain that a 209 will be the exact National Merit Semi-finalist cutoff for these states.
It’s also interesting to note that College Board has essentially confirmed a tighter grouping of National Merit scores when compared to previous years’. When constructing our predictions, many posters expressed a concern we initially had as well, that the estimated cutoffs seem to be fairly high and tightly grouped. Consider last year’s Commended, a 202 out of 240, compared to this year’s scores of 209 out of 228. When looking at these numbers, it may seem that this year’s test must have been easier, since the cutoff score is higher, but that’s not necessarily true! Since the entire scoring system has been changed, it’s not fair to directly compare cutoff scores, as College Board may have changed the raw score to scaled score conversion on their backend to reflect the new update.
Finally, as always, though this news suggests our methodology is overall performing well in terms of predictive power and accuracy, we must stress that our predictions are by no means definitive. While we hope our numbers will line up well with the official cutoffs, states’ cutoff scores do display minor fluctuations from year to year, so the official score required for National Merit Semifinalist may be slightly higher or slightly lower than our predictions. Once the official NMSF numbers are released by the NMSC, we’ll be sure to perform an analysis and debrief to see how we fared in the big leagues!