Types of School Tests

Types of School Tests

Every school has certain standards that must be met to ensure that a student completes the classes taken and is tested to determine the ability to graduate to the next level. So what are the different types of tests that are used in schools and how do they differ?

Achievement Test – This test is a type of standardized test that measures knowledge in a particular are of a subject such as English or math. It is often a multiple choice type test that gives the student three to five different answers to choose from and may be given at the end of a chapter or section or in a final exam.  Studying for Content Tests

Aptitude Test – This test is a type of standardized test that is often used by colleges to determine a student’s reasoning abilities in math or their verbal skills. It is often a multiple choice test that gives the college admissions office some view of how a student might perform in college. Nursing Entrance Tests are aptitude tests, and so is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).   See our post on Studying for Aptitude Tests

See our Post on The Difference between Aptitude and Achievement Tests

Criterion or Norm Referencing Test – This is a way to compare a student against a benchmark or standard of acceptable performance. In other words it tests how well the student did against the ‘norm.’  The CRCT and the Series 65 are Criterion tests.

High Stakes Test – This is a standardized test that will determine whether a student graduates or will be used to assess a person’s performance to become promoted, such as a teacher.  High School Exit tests are High Stakes Tests.

The standards of tests design what students should be knowledgeable about in a particular subject and to determine what grade level each represents. There are numerous companies and groups that contribute to the research and development of standardized test questions. Many tests measure the student’s skills and knowledge in a particular subject or subjects and others are designed to compare them with students all over the country. Many states also have their own separate tests specific to their state standards. The SAT-I tests are an aptitude test that is commonly known for college preparatory students.

While these tests are measuring skills and knowledge they are not measuring motivation or the ability to get along in a team environment. They do not measure a student’s creativity or how well their project management is all things that will be needed in today’s world to develop and excel in business or whatever future endeavors the student aspires to but they are essential to determining if a student graduates, gets promoted or advances to the next level.

Another type of test is a Take Home Exam

3 thoughts on “Types of School Tests”

  1. No matter how many times people explain this to me, I am still not clear on what the difference is between a norm/criterion test and an achievement test and why we even have to take these things. Both of these tests seem the same- they are multiple choice and they (supposedly) measure what you know in several different subjects. So what makes one a ‘norm referenced’ test, and what makes the other an ‘achievement’ test?

  2. The difference between these two types of tests is less in the test content and more a matter of how the results are interpreted and used. (Hope that made sense.) That is, they may be giving the same types of questions over the same subject material, but the way that the scores are calculated and what those scores mean for students will differ from test to test. A ‘norm-referenced’ test for example, looks at where your performance is in relation to other students. These results can be used to compare any group to any other group. For example, are students in one school district performing better than another? Are females performing better than males? Are 8th graders doing better at one school than at another in the same district? An ‘achievement test’, on the other hand, measures what you know in relation to a set of standards (what you are expected to know for a given grade level or class), rather than comparing you to other students. So if you score 80% on an achievement test it means that you have mastered 80% of the material, give or take a few points either way. Whereas, if you score 80th percentile on a norm referenced test, you did as well or better than 80% of students who have taken that test. These are two very different things. Achievement tests are usually used to measure your individual mastery of a course, or of curriculum standards, while norm tests are often used to show how students as a group are doing on mastering material.

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