A standardized test is an assessment that the invigilators administer to students to ensure that they score it in a steady manner. The administering of the test examines the time the students take to answer the questions. Standardized tests maintain constant conditions in the questions they deliver, as well as interpretations and their scoring methods. A well-planned standardized test evaluates individuals’ skills in their tested areas. The test also describes the behaviors and involves other factors, such as the setup format and materials to assist in the test. It also incorporates a table model to reveal the scores of the students who did the tests for comparison purposes.
Examples of Standardized Tests
The examples of standardized tests include a sequence of questions that offer multiple responses to choose the responses. The students do the tests and the examiners grade them by using scanning machines. There are different types of standardized tests; some tests require the students to use paper, while others are done electronically, i.e. via computers. In some cases, tests provide several answers to choose from, but sometimes questions asked tend to involve a lot of theory, which requires reading and critical thinking for analyzing them. At the end of such tests, students are expected to hand them in within the allocated time, and they collect special sheets to be awarded scores. Examples of standardized tests include achievement tests, personality inventory tests, intelligence tests, tests that measure attitude and interest inventories tests. Each of the examples of the tests has its sub-categories that include tests in which they are delivered to individuals.
Another category is group tests in which administrators administer exams for groups of students. The tests they issue to individuals help in assessing clinical matters, such as diagnosing a certain disorder in patients and delivering the outcome. Intelligence tests measure the strength and limitations of fields studied by students, as well as the way they present them. Administrators give these types of tests to individuals at a specific time. Students expect them to have skills in administering the tests when it comes to interpreting and scoring. On the other hand, tutors deliver group tests to assess mass students. They involve pencil and paper questions and feedback that assess small and large groups of students at a given time. Many institutions in the United States use these types of tests to examine their students because they are easy to administer and assess scores. Group tests spare examiners the trouble of undergoing training to administer papers to students. There are group tests that use computers for administering scores.
Another example of standardized tests is power and the speed tests. In this case, speed tests measure the performance rate rather than the knowledge of students. They involve easy steps that test-takers are familiar with when answering the questions. Power tests assess the knowledge of students without concentrating on their performance speed. These types of tests are usually hard and require time for answering them (Rudner, 2000).
Performance depends on how well students respond to the questions, rather than the speed they use to complete them. Other examples of standardized tests category rely on theory and are referred to as criterion-referenced tests (CRT), or norm-referenced tests (NRT). The two types are different based on the standards applied to understand students’ performance in tests. In NRT, the test-giver uses the performance of one student to contrast it with that of the other members in the group to help interpret the scores. In the CRT approach, they use a standard criterion to assess performance by testing the knowledge content of the student doing the test. This in turn, delivers information about the student in terms of his proficiency and skills.
The Pros and Cons of Standardized Tests
Standardized tests also have advantages and disadvantages. They are advantageous because they reveal information concerning students’ strength and weakness in their tested areas. The tests help identify the areas they faces problems in as well as requirements to improve in those areas. Standardized tests measure the performance of an individual student by contrasting it with the rest of the class to assess the student’s skills and position. The advantage of the tests is that they assist in assessing performance of students and apply standards that can assist them in achieving their goals. The tests give a clue of how students may perform in higher institutions depending on how they perform in their current schools (Sweet, 1993).
Studies reveal that standardized tests are accurate in determining students’ experience in their study fields. This is different when it comes to the use of subjective assessments, which reveal bias, such as interviews. The tests allow generalization and duplication of results for reliability and validity. Standardized tests assist in determining the knowledge and skills of a group, as well as play a vital role in appraising applicants during admission. The tests also have an element of uniformity because students deliver most of their papers online; it only differs from the performance of a student. Their grades do not reveal variation, and this motivates students and reduces chances of encountering errors, in case of satisfactory performance.
Standardized testing has its limitations besides being beneficial. These types of tests fail to deliver instructions appropriately. It does not favor disabled students because the administration fails to offer accommodation for them. People perceive the tests to be irrelevant to the tasks required in the classroom. The tests outcome concentrates on the factors that reflect activities of the past, such as fatigue (Wiggins, 1990). Standardized tests fail to provide details to modify the student’s performance in relation with the co-curricular activities. They also fail to involve the change of instructions, in case of problems detected in the paper. Its administration involves procedures that prevent the test-givers from accessing pertinent details that can make the students improve their performance.
Students need to be familiar with portfolios and understand that they are part of assessments that collect students’ work, reveal their efforts, and confirm their advancement and their accomplishments. The portfolio must include students’ engagement in choosing the criteria necessary for judging their merits. The portfolio should comprise evidence that reveals how students perceive themselves in their studies. It is vital for the portfolio to show students’ efforts by providing samples of their best work. For instance, they reveal their experience and present their documents based on their progress.
Portfolios enable to monitor the level of knowledge students have in their area of study. They encourage teachers, students and parents to reflect on the performance of students to enhance the continuity of their studies. Instructions in the portfolio encourage self-motivation in students towards their studies by offering a wider view of the studies. Through them, students appreciate themselves and their studies and support each other. The use of portfolios as summative assessments is necessary for revealing various skills and experience of students in their study areas. This in turn, helps support them in their goals to facilitate change and improvements.