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Advanced Educational Psychology

Standardized Testing
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Chapter 15

Standardized Tests

What are Standardized Tests?

Standardized Tests


Assess student’s performance

Compared with other students at same age level (norms are established)

Many times at national level

Purpose of Standardized Tests


Student’s progress, strengths and weaknesses

Evidence for Placement

SAT, ACT, graduation exams, TAG placement exams

Evaluate programs/Accountability

How are teachers doing? Schools? Districts? Curriculum?

Types of Standardized Tests


Measure general abilities and predict future performance

EX: ACT, SAT, IQ tests


Measure how much students learn in a given context

CAT, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Diagnostic tests

Interpreting Standardized Tests

Raw scores are translated into derived scores

These scores relate student’s performance to those of the norm group

Ex: percentile rank, grade-equivalent scores

Evaluating Standardized Tests

Validity and Reliability

Validity –

Is test appropriate for its intended use?


Does it produce consistent results?


Content evidence

Does the test assess what the user wants it to assess?

Criterion-Related evidence

Are scores related to scores from another measure of an associated trait

SAT and GPA (predictive)

WISC and the Woodcock Johnson (concurrent)


Consistent results


EX: Give Test Today and in 2 weeks

Alternative form

Form A now; Form B later


Odd versus Even Numbers

Teacher’s Role

Preparing students

Test-taking skills

Positive attitude


Administering the Tests

Follow exact procedures


Pros/Cons of Standardized Testing


What are your attitudes toward classroom versus standardized tests? Which do you believe reflect learning best? Which do you prefer? Why?

Some Facts……

Students taking the SAT score an extra 30 points for every $10,000 in their parents income

States collectively spend more than $400 million to test students (2001)

3,000 kids in NYC were mistakenly sent to summer school by a CTB/Mc-Graw Hill scoring error

More facts…..

West Bend, Wisconsin, 30 business leaders agreed to take the state’s proposed graduation exam. More than 50% failed.

In Texas, 25% of minority freshman are retained, and 98% of those retained drop out before senior year

Testing Industry is worth $630-680 billion

More Facts

The U.S. is the only economically advanced nation to rely heavily on multiple-choice tests.

Other nations use performance-based assessment where students are evaluated on the basis of real work such as essays, projects and activities.

Ironically, because these nations do not focus on teaching to multiple-choice tests, they even score higher than U.S. students on those kinds of tests.


In some schools that accountability movement has resulted in teachers trying to "teach to the test" so that their students will achieve required passing scores.

How does this relate to earlier discussions on student learning? What lasting effects, if any, will this have on overall student performance? What are the risks of teaching to the test? What are the risks of not teaching to the test? As a teacher, what would you do?

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