Difference between Norm-Referenced and Criterion-Reference Testing
Assessment is essential in identifying where a child is developmentally, tracking progress over time, providing feedback to parent s , or help with classroom management, discipline Bowers, n.
In order to ensure that all areas of development are being assessed and that objective and reliable results are being produced that can easily share with parents and other staff members, most educators select a valid, researched-based assessment tool.
Below are factors to consider when selecting and administering assessment tests. Some assessment tools are designed for very specific purposes while others cover an entire range, which can include but is not limited to the following:. Therefore, educators may choose to use several assessment tools in order to fulfill all their goals.
When educators have a choice, ease of use is always a key consideration. Teachers should look for instruments that provide valid, reliable data that is easily interpreted to help them make intervention decisions, plan individualized instruction and advise parents.
Most programs begin with a screening assessment given to all students as they enter the program. Screening results will also identify children who need further evaluation.
Once a child is referred, a broader, diagnostic assessment will be given to identify specific areas of strength and weakness to aid teachers in creating appropriate, individualized instructional goals and objectives. An objective should be written in measurable terms and include the following: a description of the task s the child will perform to demonstrate mastery, the level of accuracy required and the date by which the child should be able to perform the skill.
Assessments can include criterion-based testing, norm-referenced testing, or a combination of both. An inventory should include instructions for norm-referenced testing as well as some type of standardized assessments record book.
Criterian and Norm Referenced
This record book will contain the recommended starting point for the assessment, as well as a system for recording the items that a child mastered, the items completed unsuccessfully, and a way to determine the cutoff point for the test. The development record book, or its equivalent, provides an assessment history for that student and should contain a list of all the skills to be mastered by that child within a certain age range as well as age references that let educators know at what age to begin testing for a specific skill.
Recording assessment data in this way will allow educators to consistently and easily track progress as well as share information with parents and other educational staff.
With the focus on accountability, schools need data to make decisions for individual instruction plans as well as program-wide analysis. These programs can also provide normed data reports of quotients, percentiles, age equivalents and instructional ranges.
Concluding Thoughts The first priority of an assessment system should be to forge a strong and useful connection between the program curriculum and the assessment of child skills and knowledge Horton, C.
References Horton, Carol and Barbara T.
Bowman Child Assessment at the Preprimary Level: Expert opinion and state trends. Herr Research Center, Erikson Institute. Bowers, S. Curriculum Associates, Inc. Module 2: Criterion-Referenced Testing. Activities for Outcome-Based Learning. Topics In Early Childhood Education.
Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education. The Reading Corner. Teaching Children with Special Needs. Job Sharing Board. State Licensing Requirements.
What’s the difference? Criterion-referenced tests vs. norm-referenced tests
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