Criterion-Referenced Tests: Everything You Need to Know

This is a type of test where the students are not held to a collective standard but are expected to reach a standard that is above a specific predetermined percentage. This is usually for individualized forms of education or testing objectives with definite results. The test designers analyze the components of specific academic skills and then write the test items that’ll measure whether or not the student has mastered all the components of the skill.

A test of reading skills will seek to find out whether a student can identify the particular sounds consonants make before it’ll evaluate whether a pupil can answer comprehension questions. The questions seek to discover if the student has the skills, not whether the pupil does as well as other students in the same grade. A criterion-referenced test provides important information that the teacher can utilize to design particular instructional strategies to help the students succeed. 

A criterion-referenced test for maths should reflect the sequence and scope of state standards (like the common core state standards). It’ll reflect the skills needed at any age. As kids grow, they’re expected to acquire new skills in a reasonable order that builds on previous levels of skill acquisition. State high-stakes tests of achievement are examples of criterion-referenced tests that are aligned with a state’s standards. They measure whether kids have actually mastered the skills suggested for the students’ specific grade level.

Criterion-referenced tests have both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include:

·         Criterion-referenced tests are more effective than norm-referenced tests to track pupils’ progress within a curriculum. Teachers can design test items to match particular program objectives. The scores indicate how well the student can correctly answer questions on the topic being studied.

·         Every teacher must assess student progress. Teachers can develop criterion-referenced tests at the classroom level. If the standards aren’t met, they can specifically diagnose the deficiencies. Additionally, they can quickly obtain test results to provide students with feedback on their performance.

The disadvantages include:

·         Creating criterion-referenced tests that are both reliable and valid requires a significant amount of time and effort. Moreover, results cannot be generalized beyond the particular course or program. These tests are specific to a program, and teachers cannot use them to measure the performance of a large group of students.

·         Item analysis is performed to evaluate the effectiveness of individual test items. The teacher must know how the analysis of criterion-referenced tests differs from norm-referenced tests.

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