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ERIC Number: ED518671
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
What Parents Should Know about Test Types. Assessment Brief. Number 1
Dietel, Ron
Center for Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning (CAESL) at WestEd
Testing in the nation's schools is on the rise. From the classroom quiz to the large-scale standardized test, the pressure for education to be "accountable" has intensified. As children experience this new tide of testing, it is helpful to become more aware of the different types of tests and their purposes. Students in the United States usually take three types of tests in school: standards-based tests, norm-referenced tests, and classroom tests. Each type of test serves important but different purposes. At its best, a state standards-based test tells how well a child is achieving the state standards and can also provide important information about how well the school is teaching those standards. A national norm-referenced test provides valuable information that can be compared to a national average. On the other hand, standards-based and norm-referenced tests often are not able to assess a student's deeper conceptual understanding or complex thinking abilities. A classroom test provides information about a child's performance in a specific topic taught by a specific teacher. Major advantages of classroom tests are that they can provide much more frequent information on student progress, help diagnose specific student strengths and weaknesses, and can lead to improved instruction for students. However, they lack a national or state comparison and both test design and scoring may be less precise than on a norm-referenced or state standards-based test. (Lists 3 resources.) [This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation.]
Center for Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning (CAESL) at WestEd. c/o WestEd. 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-1242. Tel: 877-493-7833; Tel: 415-565-3000; Fax: 415-565-3012; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Community; Parents
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning (CAESL)