Types of Standardized Tests

Types of Standardized Tests
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Andrew Diamond

Andrew has worked as an instructional designer and adjunct instructor. He has a doctorate in higher education and a master's degree in educational psychology.

In this lesson we'll cover the three most common types of standardized tests, as well as what can be inferred from these test results. A short quiz follows the lesson.

Definition of Standardized Tests

There is quite the fuss in modern education around standardized testing. Some, mainly academics, swear by the validity of these tests and their ability to measure student achievement, teacher performance, and school quality. Others, primarily classroom teachers, students, and parents, have grown weary of the monotony of high-stakes tests which seemingly take time away from the more traditional curriculum.

Recent educational trends, spearheaded by No Child Left Behind and further supported in the new Common Core, have seen the importance placed on standardized testing increase. More and more these tests are driving school funding, student placement, and teacher retention. Is standardized testing good for education? That's a question I'll leave up to you to research and answer, but before you do, it's important to understand the different types of standardized tests and how they differ.

First, let's define standardized tests. We can do this by defining each term and then smooshing them back together. A test is, simply put, a measure of performance. There are a number of tests (e.g., taste test, reliability test), but in education we are primarily talking about written tests, which measure a student's performance on a particular skill or subject area. To standardize is to make things the same and equal across as many dimensions as possible. So, when we put them together we get the definition of a standardized test, which is a measure of performance with equivalent questions, taken under similar circumstances, and graded in a uniform manner. Not too complicated, right?

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