Criterion and Norm-Referenced Tests | Free Essay Example

Criterion and Norm-Referenced Tests

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Topic: Education
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Introduction

The concept of testing students and learners has been there since time immemorial.

Many individuals have not understood the real context and reasons that justify testing and have therefore misinterpreted the reasons and the various types of testing methods that educator often to use to assess student learning.

The two most common type of testing are criterion-referenced testing, and norm-referenced testing each of these types of testing is unique and therefore are used for different purposes, which contain different academic content characteristics, and as a result, the associated score interpretation is different (Guskey 2009).

Definition, goals, and purpose of each type of assessment

Norm-referenced testing (NRT) is a category of testing method/evaluation/assessment technique is used to rank an individual who happens to exist within a predefined group (Suskie 2010).

A good example of such a technique testing is one that can determine all students and rank them in descending order by using the end of semester exams and pick out the best performing student out of the lot.

Therefore this testing technique can determine who performed better or worse than others relative to the whole predefined population.

Consequently, in simple layman terms, NRT is a testing technique that is used to compare performance between peers or individuals who are subjected to the same learning conditions (Boehm 1973).

The criterion-referenced testing technique is a method which goes ahead and tries to translate or explain more about the actual behavior of a given learner with respect to the learning process.

A test is therefore criterion-referenced if scoring is based on absolute standards, and therefore measuring such performance will be based more on how students/peers have mastered a specific set of skills and how well they can solve tasks.

Therefore such tests may not necessarily rank peers but may rather try to establish whether every student has achieved a specific set of required skills, and how they react to instructions.

Describe the developer payment process for each type of assessment

The content of Norm-referenced tests is set in such a way that it becomes possible to measure a wide skill area that revolves around a given syllabus, which usually consists of various learning materials such as textbooks, slide shows and even charts (Boehm 1973).

Each skill is therefore evaluated several times, and each type of test will always vary in difficulty with the main aim being the separation low and high achievers.

Criterion-referenced tests are usually developed to have content that that is specifically designed with a curriculum that will measure specific skills that students may have achieved and involved following given instructions to display the level of skills obtained (Popham 2010).

Numerous tests may be administered to obtain the most accurate evaluation of a student and minimize guessing.

Describe the challenges to the reliability, validity, and data reporting

One major limitation of NRT’s is that it is possible to measure the performance of the universe because it only uses a restricted sample of individuals falling within a given group, therefore, making it difficult to initiate educational reforms that can target all students.

On the other hand, criterion-referenced tests have a disadvantage since they do not compare the performance of given students about others. Hence, it becomes impossible to know how certain students fared in the tests relative to others.

Reporting scores

In the case of NRT’s every learner after the tests have been marked and total marks calculated, as compared to his/her peers, and sometimes the best students in various skill areas may be made public and get rewarded.

Grading and ranking are usually achieved by the use of percentage or points; therefore, accomplishment is reported for wide skill areas and may often not cover specific individual skill areas (Popham 1975).

In contrast, CRT’s scores are usually reported after they have been compared to a standard acceptable framework that exists and the learner/student has satisfied these pre-existing set standards, achievement, in this case, is reported for every individual skill.

Applications

Both NRT’s and CRT’s used to evaluate the performance of learners and determine whether they have failed or excelled in their tests. It is after this that the students can be held accountable and told to re-sit their tests.

On the other hand, teachers can use these results to implement various learning techniques that they will use to disseminate education better (McMillan 2008).

Tests scores and overall performance measurement techniques can be used by the district school boards and other institutions to initiate education based reforms and better education.

Example and alignment

A good example of a criterion-referenced test is medical school graduation examinations which are mostly high stake and are necessary for individuals who desire to be licensed as doctors and pursue the profession.

Such tests may not necessarily rank individuals but may try to determine if one has a specific set of skills to become a doctor and not be a danger to human beings.

It is evident that all CRT’s aim to measure the individual level of skill and therefore doctors who are only considered to be individually brilliant in terms of skill can be accepted into the system.

College entrance tests are a good example of normative-referenced tests that usually end up ranking students and determining which colleges they will ultimately go to.

It is, therefore, using these scores and rankings that the best colleges within the country can end up picking the best students to join them by assuming that they are high achievers.

Table 1. A summarized table comparing and contrasting NRTand CRT.

Part 1 Norm-Referenced Assessment Criterion-Referenced Assessment
Goal or purpose Technique is used to rank an individual who happens to exist within a predefined group. Technique is a method which goes ahead and tries to translate or explain more about the actual behavior of a given learner in respect to the learning process.
Development process content of Norm-referenced tests are set in such a way that it becomes possible to measure a wide skill area that revolve around a given syllabi, which usually consists of various learning materials such as text books, slide shows and even charts. Criterion referenced tests are usually developed to have content that that is specifically designed with curriculum that will measure specific skills that students may have achieved and is mainly involve following given instructions in order to display the level of skilled obtained.
Challenges It is impossible to measure the performance of the universe because it only uses a restricted sample of individuals falling within a given group. Therefore making it difficult to initiate educational reforms that can target all students. Criterion-referenced tests’ have the disadvantage that they do not compare the performance of given students relative to others.
Score reporting Each and every learner after the tests have been marked and total marks calculated is compared to his/her peers. CRT’s scores are usually reported after they have been compared to a standard acceptable framework that exists and the learner/student has satisfied these preexisting set standards,
Applications NRT’s are used to evaluate performance of learners and determine whether they have failed or excelled in their tests. While comparing them to acceptable set standards. CRT’s used to evaluate performance of learners and determine whether they have failed or excelled in their tests while at the same time provide a relative number of ranking in comparison to peers.
Part 2 Norm-Referenced Assessment Criterion-Referenced Assessment
Example Medical school graduation examinations which are mostly high stake and are necessary for individuals who desire to be licensed as doctors and pursue the profession such as becoming. Such tests may not necessarily rank individuals but may try to determine if one has the specific set of skills to become a doctor and not be a danger to human beings. Collage entrance tests are a good example of normative-referenced tests that usually end up ranking students and determining to which colleges they will ultimately go to.
Purpose alignment To produce students and professionals who are in line with minimum accepted standards To produce highly competitive outstanding students among peers.

References

Boehm, A, (1973) Criterion-referenced assessment for the teacher. Teachers collage record, 78:117-126.

Guskey, T. R., (2009). Practical solutions for serious problems in standards-based grading. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

McMillan, J. H. (2008). Assessment essentials for standards-based education. (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Popham, J. W. (1975). Educational evaluation. Englewood Cliffs. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Popham, W. J. (2010). Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know. (6th ed). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. (2nd ed). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.