Based on an analysis of nearly 10,000 students, Testmasters has updated our prediction for the National Merit Semifinalist cutoff score in Texas to be as high as 219.
To understand how we got this number, you first need to understand how the National Merit Scholarship Corporation determines who gets to be a semifinalist. Every year, approximately 16,000 students become National Merit Semifinalists. Every state in the country is allotted a number of those 16,000 students proportional to the number of graduating high school seniors in that state. They then “fill in” that allocation starting with the students from that state with the highest scores. The lowest score in that allocation is the National Merit Semifinalist cutoff score for that state.
Using new data from roughly 10,000 Testmasters students and other students who took the PSAT in Texas, we reproduced this process. We know from historic data that of these 10,000 students, approximately 60 will become National Merit Semifinalists. Applying that number to our data, we have revised our estimate of the National Merit Semifinalist cutoff for Texas to be as high as 219.
Our previous estimate of 217 was based on linear regression done on the concordance tables released by the College Board and historical cutoff scores. This new estimate includes 10,000 students – a sampling of Testmasters students and beyond – and is more accurate because it’s based on real, actual scores from students who took the new test and have scores using the new selection index. Even though the cutoff score is higher, the number of students who will become National Merit Semifinalists stays the same.
But what about the sliding-scale estimates?
They were our best guess before the concordance tables came out. We update our estimates when we receive new data.
What does this mean for other states?
It’s important to note that this data is only representative of Texas and cannot necessarily be extrapolated to the cutoffs of other states. However, what the 219 shows us is that our concordance table estimates are in the right ballpark–though we won’t know for sure until August/September.
Please note that this post is an update to previous posts on the topic. You can find those previous posts here: