Standardized Assessments & Formative vs. Summative Evaluations

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  • 0:19 Standardizing…
  • 2:01 Achievement Assessments
  • 3:21 Scholastic Aptitude…
  • 4:17 Specific Aptitude Assessments
  • 5:15 School Readiness Assessments
  • 6:07 Choosing Standardized…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Melissa Hurst
If you have ever attended a public school or college you have been subjected to a form of standardized assessment. These assessments serve multiple purposes and provide valuable information regarding one's abilities, understanding and potential. This lesson will introduce you to the types of standardized assessments commonly used in schools and discuss two other types of assessments: formative and summative.

Testing Time

Student: It's testing time again. We are expected to come to school early, eat a good breakfast, and get a good night's sleep. Why do we take these assessments every year? Who creates them and what purpose do they serve?

Standardized Assessments Defined

Expert: Standardized assessments are assessments constructed by experts and published for use in many different schools and classrooms.

Student: What are the different uses for standardized assessments?

Expert: Standardized assessments are very common and can be used for several purposes.

  • They can be used to evaluate a student's understanding and knowledge for a particular area.
  • They can be used to evaluate admissions potential for a student in grade school or college.
  • They can be used to assess language and technical skill proficiency.
  • Standardized assessments are often used to determine psychological services.
  • They are even used to evaluate aptitude for a career in the armed forces.

Standardized Assessment Qualities

Student: Okay, I get that they are used all the time for a variety of reasons. My next question is how are they standardized?

Expert: Standardized assessments have several qualities that make them unique and standard. First, all students taking the particular assessment are given the same instructions and time limit. Instructional manuals typically accompany the assessment so teachers or proctors know exactly what to say. Second, the assessments contain the same or very similar questions. Third, the assessments are scored, or evaluated, with the same criteria.

Standardized Assessment Types

Student: You mentioned that there are different types of standardized assessments. What are they?

Expert: Yes, there are four main types of standardized assessments used by school districts. They are achievement assessments, scholastic aptitude and intelligence assessments, specific aptitude assessments and school readiness assessments.

Achievement Assessments

Expert: Achievement assessments are designed to assess how much students have learned from classroom instruction. Assessment items typically reflect common curriculum used throughout schools across the state or nation. For example, a history assessment might contain items that focus on national history rather than history distinct to a particular state or county.

There are advantages to achievement assessments. First, achievement assessments provide information regarding how much a student has learned about a subject. These assessments also provide information on how well students in one classroom compare to other students. They also provide a way to track student progress over time.

There are some disadvantages to achievement assessments as well. Achievement assessments do not indicate how much a student has learned for a particular area within the subject. For example, the assessment may indicate a relative understanding of math, but will not indicate if a student knows how to use a particular equation taught in the classroom.

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