Standardized testsare intended to compare the performance of an individual to a group, or a group to a group Normal Curve
Criterion-Referenced testsare intended to measure the performance of individuals on a common, pre-determined task. (Everyone can get a 100%.)
Standardized Tests are Problematic If I were to put up a chart showing Reading Achievement among U.S. 17-year-olds from 1971 to 2008, what would you expect it to show? Would you believe me if I told that 17-year-olds in 2008 scored 1 point higher than 17-year-olds in 1971?
What does this tell us? The average 8th grader reads at a “basic” level. The average 12th grader reads at a “basic” level. Or… Not much.
Standardized Tests are Problematic Campbell’s Law: “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” Donald T. Campbell, “Assessing the Impact of Planned Social Change,” in Social Research and Public Policies: The Dartmouth/OECD Conference, ed. G.M. Lyons (Hanover, NH: Public Affairs Center, Dartmouth College, 1975), 35.
Assessments have different purposes… Only Teacher-Made testsare intended to provide teachers the information they need in order to optimize instructional design… In order to find out about your students’ knowledge, skills, interests, strength, and weaknesses… YOU must assess them.