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Gifted Assessment and Academic Testing
There is a difference between Gifted Assessment and Academic Testing (sometimes called proficiency or standardized testing). Academic testing will determine where your student is academically, it is not an indicator of giftedness. This page is about Academic testing. Jump to Gifted Assessment & IQ Testing.

Topics
About Academic Testing Tests You May Encounter
Assessment Lingo Elementary & Middle School Tests
High School Level Tests Standardized testing resources

Standardized testing resources

 

Check out our "homeschooling teens" page for more PSAT, SAT and ACT information.

 

 

 

 

 

About Academic Testing
There are as many different opinions about academic testing as there are homeschoolers. Many people object to standardized testing. Hopefully this page can help you decide how you feel about academic testing.

Let's start with a definition:

as-sess ,v.t. 1. to estimate officially the value of (property,etc) for taxation. 2. to determine the amount of (damages, a fine, etc.) 3. to evaluate: to assess one's efforts.
The next word in my dictionary was
as-set, n. 1. A useful thing or quality.

The interesting definition to me was number 3. Actually the next definition is the real comment. In this age of standardized testing, how can one really measure one's efforts? In the state where I homeschool, we have to send proof that our students show improvement each year. I used a standardized test every year.

So in our homeschool we look at Standardized tests as a necessary evil that measures someone's idea of some subset of knowledge the specific age group should know. We also know that one day my student will take the SAT College entrance test, so I want him to know what a standardized test looked like.
In this age of standardized testing I thinks it's better to be the informed player on the sidelines than the ostrich who doesn't even pay attention to the game in the stadium.

Assessment Lingo - The Language of Standardized Testing
The language used in conjunction with standardized testing is mind boggling - especially if it is language you do not see everyday. In my opinion, it is language that is designed to confuse parents into thinking that there are "experts" out there who are better than they are in assessing their children's needs. Granted in some cases, "experts" need to be called in, but in the case of standardized testing, language should be precise and clear for parents to understand. There is nothing more frustrating to a parent than to receive standardized test results that have to have a page of explanation describing what the numbers mean. But this is the structured world of public and private education these days.

This section attempts to decode some of the "lingo" you might encounter in dealing with standardized testing.

Norm referenced test
A norm-referenced test is a type of test, assessment, or evaluation in which the tested individual is compared to a sample of peers who also took the same test.
Criterion referenced test (CRTs)
Criterion referenced are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific subject. CRTs usually are administered to determine whether a student has learned the material taught in a specific grade or course.

Developmental Tests
Determine developmental readiness. Administered at Kindergarten or 1st grade.

Intelligence Tests
The two most commonly used for gifted assessment are the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children® (WISC) and the Stanford-Binet.
These tests measure Intelligence quotient or IQ. The Stanford-Binet has a higher range and is the test of choice for highly gifted children.

Standardized AKA: academic, achievement or proficiency) Tests
A standardized test is an assessment that has been devised from a sample of primarily public school students of a certain grade and age in a particular area. This kind of test generally includes sub-tests to measure a student's math and reading levels, and may include sub-tests on science, social studies and more specific areas such as spelling, grammar, problem solving.There are 2 kinds of standardized tests. 1. Norm referenced 2. criterion referenced

Diagnostic Tests
Unlike standardized tests, diagnostic tests are criterion referenced. This means that the test items and goals are determined according to a fixed set of requirements. Each test is scored based only on the student's own performance regarding his or her grade level requirements.


Raw score
This is the number of questions answered correctly. This number is converted into the norm-referenced scores that are used to calculate all other scores.
Composite score
Combines two or more subtest scores to create an average or composite score. For example, a reading performance score may be an average of vocabulary and reading comprehension subtest scores.
Percentile Ranking
The relative standing of the student when compared to other students of the same grade, with the majority of students scoring near the midpoint of the 50th percentile. This number is useful when comparing a student's performance in a particular area relative to other students. For example, if the student is ranked 90th percentile, it means he scored better than 90% of the students in the National norming group -- or peers who also took this test at this grade level.
Stanines
This score represents from a low of 1 to a high of 9, with each interval representing approximately equal units of ability. Scores 1-3 represent below average, 4-6 represents average ability and 7-9 are above average.
Grade equivalent (GE)
This score is obtained by calculating the average performance of students tested in a given month of the school year and is expressed in terms of grade level and school month. A score of 12.9 on a grade 9 level test means that the tested student performed the same as an average student in grade 12.9 who took the same level test. A grade equivilant score does not indicate the student has master the material for that grade level. A GE that is 2 or more years above or below the grade level for the test means that the student is well above or below the average.
Scaled score
These scores represent approximately equal units on a continuous grade level-independent scale ranging from 001 to 999. These numbers are useful for showing growth and change over time within the same subject matter.
Standard Scores
Range from 55-145, with average test performance scoring 100 at each grade level. These scores are normalized and are useful for showing growth and change over time within the same subject matter
Content Skills Performance Levels
These scores show how well a student performed on broad categories of questions within a section.

 


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