Tests and measurement
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Tests and Measurement. Donna Sundre, EdD Robin D. Anderson, PsyD. How to Use a Test. Standardization Test Score Interpretation Bias or True Difference Communicating Test Results to Others Using Test Scores to Advocate Common Test Misuses. Standardization.

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Tests and Measurement

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Tests and measurement

Tests and Measurement

Donna Sundre, EdD

Robin D. Anderson, PsyD

How to use a test

How to Use a Test

  • Standardization

  • Test Score Interpretation

  • Bias or True Difference

  • Communicating Test Results to Others

  • Using Test Scores to Advocate

  • Common Test Misuses



  • A standardized test is one that is administered under standardized or controlled conditions that specify where, when, how, and for how long children may respond to the questions or "prompts." (NCREL, 2002)



  • They provide a "systematic procedure for describing behaviors, whether in terms of numbers or categories."

  • They include specified procedures for administration and scoring

  • They have an established format and set of materials

  • They present the same tasks and require the same response modes from all test takers

  • They provide tables of norms (see standards for technical qualities)to which the scores of test takers can be compared in order to ascertain their relative standing

    Goodwin, W. L., & Driscoll, L. A. (1980). Handbook for measurement and evaluation in early childhood education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Test security

Test Security

  • Important for Fairness and Validity

  • Before Test

    • Keep tests secure

    • Do not share items as part of test prep.

  • During Test

    • Do not allow students to take notes

    • Do not allow copies to be made

  • After Test

    • Insure no items leave test area

    • Keeps tests secure

  • Test Preparation

Test score interpretation

Test Score Interpretation

  • Observed Score

  • Standard Score

Norm referenced interpretation

Norm-Referenced Interpretation

  • Describe a student’s performance in relation to the performance of a group of students

  • Examples: Grade Equivalent Scores & Percentiles



  • Allow one to Analyze the general progress of large groups of students

  • Give you a basis for examining an individual student’s general performance



  • Inappropriate for following an individual student’s specific progress in specific skills

  • Insufficient for diagnosing a student’s specific strengths or weaknesses within a given subject area

  • Inappropriate for your district if specific features of your curriculum or of your students are not represented in the test

  • Assess narrow range of outcomes

  • Limited number of items for each objective

  • Norms quickly become outdated

Criterion referenced interpretation

Criterion-Referenced Interpretation

  • Describe a student’s mastery of skills

  • Often developmental information provided



  • Measure whether your district has attained its curricular objectives

  • Often developed from programs or courses that are taught in local schools

  • Appropriate for diagnosing your students’ strengths and weaknesses within a given subject area

  • Help you plan instructional programs



  • Do not provide meaningful norms

  • Can be expensive to develop

  • Must revise them periodically to reflect current objectives

  • Require a great deal of testing time

  • Require additional cut scores

    Rudner, L. (1989). Basic testing principles. In Understanding Achievement Tests: A guide for School Administrators. American Institutes for Research Washington, D.C.

Test and item bias

Test and Item Bias

  • Bias: When subgroups of equal ability perform differently on a test or item

  • Not bias if it reflects a true difference in ability between two groups

  • Documenting the achievement gap

Communicating test results

Communicating Test Results

  • Explain why students are tested

  • Explain the different types of scores

  • Help parents to interpret test scores

  • Advocating for students

Why students are tested

Why students are tested

  • Evaluate and improve the school district

  • Evaluate and improve the individual school

  • Identify a child's academic strengths

  • Identify areas where a child may need to improve

    Eisenberg, Thomas E., and Rudner, Lawrence M.(1988). Explaining Test Results to Parents. ERIC Digest No. 102.

Test misuses

Test Misuses

  • Relying on Test Titles

  • Ignoring Error of Measurement

  • Lack of Multiple Indicators

  • Poor Test Score Reporting

  • Ascribing Causation

    Gardner, E. (1989). Five Common Misuses of Tests. ERIC Digest No. 108.

Concluding remarks

Concluding Remarks

  • Brief Introduction

  • Resources in handout and on Web

  • Concerns? Questions? Issues?

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