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Assessment Styles In Education Essay

1228 words - 5 pages

Formal or conventional assessment usually assesses overall achievement and compares a test takers performance to a group of peers in order to determine strengths and weaknesses (Briggs, 1998). The tests are usually standardized tests that are delivered in the form of multiple choice questions. There are several types of standardized tests, each with their own purpose, advantages or disadvantages, like norm referenced tests or criterion referenced tests.A norm referenced test is used specifically to compare the test taker with another test taker or one group with another group. Schools have to use these tests to compare the performance of their students with the performance of students else where either in their own state or the entire nation. The test is easy to give and is highly structured so the condition under which it is administered is standard from test site to test site. This test provides who a particular test taker performs in comparison to their peers - (other in the same age, grade, gender group, etc) and it allows the administrator of the exam the ability identify skills that are lacking or need reinforcement. This tells the test administrator the instructional methods that were effective in each specific area being tested and which methods failed. While one of the advantages of this test is that they are all identical with no variation, it also presents as a disadvantage that all these tests are identical. These tests don't address the needs of different types of learners or the boredom factor. The test taker is guaranteed the correct answer is located in one of the multiple choice answers provided so through a process of elimination they have a relatively good chances of choosing the correct answer. Also, it doesn't really test for the depth of understanding in regard to the subject matter - it only tests for the test taker's performance in comparison to others in the peer group.A criterion referenced test is one that tests the level of comprehension of the subject matter for each test taker as an individual. This type of test is usually given by a teacher to check understanding of a concept in the classroom. This type of test will usually test for understanding in a subject area at least four times to get a true representation of the level of understanding and minimizing the possibility of luck. In a criterion referenced test, the test taker is not being compared to their peers but instead only with a preset standard that is expected to be achieved. The standard may be determined by the individual test administrator, the school, the county or even by the state.The criterion referenced test is an excellent way to determine if the curriculum is being taught however, it does not demonstrate if the test taker is taking that skills and actually applying it to the real world. For example, the test taker can be taught to "take the test" instead of taught the material and how to translate that knowledge into useful application. The test...

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