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Standardized Tests. What They Measure How They Measure. Construction:. Constructed by test construction experts Assisted by curriculum experts, teachers, and school administrators Administered and scored according to specific and uniform (i.e. standard) procedures. Purpose:.

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standardized tests

Standardized Tests

What They Measure

How They Measure

  • Constructed by test construction experts
  • Assisted by curriculum experts, teachers, and school administrators
  • Administered and scored according to specific and uniform (i.e. standard) procedures
  • To determine a student’s level of performance relative to the performance of other students in similar age and grade
type criterion referenced test
Type: Criterion-Referenced Test
  • Comparison is made to meeting a criterion or absolute standard
    • Helps develop proficiency in or master of some skill or set of skills
    • Helps determine if student needs more work with a skill.
    • Does not rank or place
    • PSSA tests
type norm referenced test
Type: Norm-Referenced Test

Students are compared to a norm or average of performance by other similar students.

Helps to determine place or rank

how are tests normed
How are tests normed?
  • Compiled from scores of students who took the tests years earlier when the test was being developed or revised
    • Current test takers do not affect the norm
comparison with other students
Comparison with Other Students
  • Grading on a Curve or Norm Referenced

Grade % of Students

A 10

B 25

C 40

D 20

F 5

problems with normed tests
Problems with Normed Tests
  • Group tested can vary greatly from group who normed the test
  • May not match curriculum
  • May not match schedule
    • (traditional vs. block)
student related issues
Student-Related Issues
  • Age, Sex, and Development
  • Motivation
  • Emotional State
  • Disabilities
test bias
Test Bias
  • The presence of some characteristic of an item that results in differential performance for individuals of the same ability but from different ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, or religious groups
interpreting scores grade equivalents
Interpreting Scores: Grade Equivalents

Biggest Problem: People interpret them as a standard rather than a norm!

  • They are estimates above or below grade level
    • 7th grader has 11.3 reading grade level
    • Only students one year below and above were tested
  • Equal distance in scores do not necessarily reflect equal distance in achievement.
    • Growth from 2.6 to 3.6 is not the same as growth from 7.6 to 8.6 (more sophisticated skills)
age equivalents
Age Equivalents
  • Same issues as grade equivalents
  • Used often to ascertain normal child development
  • Have not attracted widespread acceptance in schools
percentile rank
Percentile Rank
  • Not a percentage!
  • Best indicator:
    • Comparison are within grade level
    • Less likely to be considered as standards for performance
    • Easiest for all to understand

Percentile rank of 62 means the student scored 62 % better than those who took the test.


1-9 levels of markings to show where student falls in the norm referencing. It is same as percentile. “5” is average. Every other number is a certain standard deviation above or below the mean (average).