A test that determines a student’s place or rank among other students is called a norm-referenced test (NRT). This type of test compares a student to a norm group (a large sample of pupils at the same age or grade).
A test that compares a student’s performance to an absolute standard or criterion of mastery is called a criterion-referenced test (CRT). This tells whether a student needs additional instruction on some skill or set of skills.
The major advantage of an NRT is that it covers many different content areas on a single test.
The NRT measures a variety of specific and general skills at once, but cannot measure them thoroughly—a teacher is not as sure that individual students have mastered the individual skills in question.
The major disadvantage of an NRT is that it is too general to be useful in identifying individual strengths or weaknesses tied to individual texts or workbooks.
The major advantage of a CRT is that it can yield highly specific information about individual skills or behaviors.
The major disadvantage of a CRT is that many such tests would be needed to make decisions about the many skills or behaviors typically taught in school.
Figure 12.1 Relationship of the purpose of testing and information desired to the type of test required.
Insert figure 12. 1 here
The Test Blueprint
A test blueprint is a table that matches the test items to be written with the content areas and levels of behavioral complexity taught.
The test blueprint helps ensure that a test samples learning across
The range of content areas covered.
The cognitive and or affective processes considered important.
Constructing a Test Blueprint
Classify each instructional objective by level (knowledge, application, etc.).
Record the number of items to be constructed for each objective in the cell corresponding to its behavioral category.
Total the items for each instructional objective and record the number in the total row.
Total the number of items falling in each behavior and record the number at the bottom of the table.
Compute the column and row percentages by dividing each total by the number of items in the test.
Objective Test Items
Objective test item formats include:
Completion or short answer
Two methods for reducing the effect of guessing in true-false are
To encourage all students to guess when they do not know the answer
Analogies that demonstrate relationships among items
Previously learned principles or procedures
For writing completion items:
Require a single-word answer
Pose questions/problem in brief, definite statements
Make sure an accurate response is in in the text, workbook, or notes
Omit only one or two key words
Put the blank at the end of the statement
For numerical answers, indicate the units
Essay Test Items
Extended response essay test items allow students to determine response length and complexity.
Restricted-response essay test items pose specific problems for which students must recall and organize the proper information, derive defensible conclusions, and express them within a stated time or length.