ERIC Number: ED410316
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Norm- and Criterion-Referenced Testing. ERIC/AE Digest.
Bond, Linda A.
Tests can be categorized into two major groups: norm-referenced tests (NRTs) and criterion-referenced tests (CRTs). NRTs are designed to highlight achievement differences between and among students to produce a dependable rank order of students across a continuum of achievement from high achievers to low achievers. With NRTs, a representative group of students is given a test before it is made available to the public. The scores of students who take the test after publication are then compared to those of the norm group. CRTs determine what test takers know and can do, not how they compare to others. They report how well students are doing relative to a predetermined performance level on a specified set of educational goals and outcomes. Both NRTs and CRTs can be standardized. Test content is an important factor in choosing between NRTs and CRTs. The content of the NRT is selected according to how well it ranks students, while the content of a CRT is determined by how well it matches the learning outcomes considered most important. It is easier to ensure the match to expected skills with a CRT. In 1994, 31 states administered NRTs and 33 states administered CRTs. Of these states, 22 administered both types of test. Before a state can choose the type of standardized test to use, state education officials will have to consider three criteria: (1) whether the assessment strategies of a test match the state's goals; (2) the content the state wishes to assess; and (3) the kinds of interpretations state officials want to make about student performance. (Contains six references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Achievement Tests, Criterion Referenced Tests, Elementary Secondary Education, National Norms, Norm Referenced Tests, Selection, Standardized Tests, State Programs, Test Content, Test Norms, Test Use, Testing Programs
ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, 210 O'Boyle Hall, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064; toll free telephone: 800-464-3742.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, Washington, DC.