The Importance of Academic Achievement Tests

Achievement tests are tools used by educators and professionals to gauge a person’s skills, knowledge, and accomplishment in a given topic. Whether taking a math test or working your way up to a black belt in taekwondo, it is safe to assume that you have encountered one of these at least once in your lifetime. 

Achievement Test vs Aptitude Test

Achievement tests and aptitude tests are two forms of ability tests. Both tests are often discussed alongside each other because they are usually administered in the school setting. Aptitude tests are typically used for prediction purposes and to determine an individual’s potential for success. Examples include the SATs and college admissions tests. Achievement tests attempt to measure learning that takes place or the skills and knowledge that has been attained in a given period. Examples include teacher-made exams, board exams, and bar exams.

Use of Achievement Tests

Throughout an entire school year, students are expected to take tests for various subjects. They will be assessed on their mastery of the content and acquisition of skills. The grades from these tests are the basis for the final grade, which will determine whether a student will be promoted to the next grade level, graduate, be retained, or not be retained.

In the United States, there is a lot of focus being placed on achievement tests because it determines school funding—schools with a high performing student population might receive more funding than a school that does not. Achievement tests also play an important part in determining a student’s eligibility for certain types of grants and scholarships.

Outside the four walls of a classroom, achievement tests are also used, like in sports. These are not necessarily in written form, but the goal is the same: determine how much an individual has learned and what skills have been acquired. Through the results, the assessors will determine if the individual is ready to move up a level, which areas need to be improved, and how much further training is needed. Those who aim to move up a level in taekwondo need to master skills at each level. After a period of training, the teacher will assess whether the student is ready and will be the one to test the student.

In the workplace, achievement tests are deployed as a way to measure an employee’s mastery of skills and knowledge sets. The results may be used when considering this employee for a promotion or pay raise.

A Word of Caution About Achievement Tests

Many parents and child welfare groups have been critical of achievement tests, especially those in the school setting. Students take a lot of tests throughout an entire school year. Many students cram before exams and manage to get high scores, but they usually do not remember these lessons because the focus is on getting good grades rather than learning. Some of these standardized tests are structured in a way that does not accurately show a student’s critical and creative thinking skills. Achievement tests are useful when it comes to diagnosing a student’s mastery of skills, knowledge of a certain topic; however, the results are only a small part of a person’s overall mental ability.

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