What Is A Standardized Test?

December 30th, 2020

Reading time about 13 min

Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions adapt to the changes to impart better quality education to all learners. In addition to this, the pattern of evaluation is also transforming. Many organizations are now using a standardized test to maintain parity among patterns to track their progress.

Like any other test, a standardized test is an evaluation process based on a set of questions that are the same for all students. It judges the learners based on the same standard. Here the conditions that apply to the examination are precisely the same for all who undergo the process.

The tests determine the readiness of the students for a course. Often they get used for the admission test or merit test. It merely judges the effectiveness of the entire teaching-learning process.

standardized test, Multiple Choice Questions

Generally, these tests are consists of objective type questions, the answers of which are direct and specific. Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and True/ False are the two most common types of a standardized test.

Know About the Rules of the Standardized Test

The standard of the test and the rules are the same for all students and are predetermined. There are various forms of this test, the three most common forms are the written tests, practical skill tests, and oral tests. One can conduct a standardized test both in the pen and paper format and as a computerized test.

For the latter, objective type questions are best suited. It requires less time to evaluate papers and generate marks compared to checking an essay type question. Moreover, checking objective-type questions reduces the chances of errors in correction and reduces the scope of being bias.

What Types of Questions Are There in These Standardized Testing?

Essay types and open-ended questions are also often included in such tests. However, the marking criterion becomes ambiguous in these cases. A proper guideline is set, and a marking scheme is prepared.

However, each essay and Higher Order Thinking (HOT) question’s answer is different from the other based on the learners’ understanding. Thus questions of this sort are difficult to evaluate based on the same standard of marking scheme.

A computerized standardized test is time-saving. One generally uploads the answers to the server before the test. Thus the result can be faster, and the result is more accurate than a pen and paper test.

The idea behind such tests, which have the same question, same time, same circumstance, and grading system for all, is to be fair to all the examinees.

Types of Standardized Test:

To delve deeper into this matter, one has to know the varied types of tests, so here they are. One can have a look at them:

  • Aptitude Test:

Standardized tests arebased on the students’ natural abilities to solve exercises and answer questions they have no previous knowledge of—this helps pinpoint the students’ capabilities and problem-solving skills. Thus the students have no scope of preparing for the aptitude test.

Aptitude tests offer learners flexibility as they judge the skills, not only the knowledge they gained from the text. In the field of higher education, such tests are more relevant.

  • Achievement Test:

Standardized achievement tests often judge the effectiveness of the teaching-learning process. In these tests, questions are generally set from the things students have already learned in the past. They have to depend on their knowledge more than skill to perform well in such tests.  

Ideally, institutions conduct an achievement test at the end of an academic year to trace the learners’ progress. The test helps them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and also offer them appropriate solutions.

Know About the Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing:

Pros:

Discussion on the advantages of the testing is there first, followed by the cons. So, the pros of this test are the following:

  • Standardized testing helps the facilitators to pinpoint the learning gaps of the students. This monitoring process enables them to provide help to students based on their individual needs.
  • Educational institutions and facilitators can also identify the areas where they need to improve themselves to make the teaching-learning process more useful.
  • Standardized testing discourages plagiarism. Especially computerized tests that automatically conduct the evaluation process. The examiners can check for plagiarism that is quite a common issue in academics, especially in higher education.
  • These tests have used a tool to compare learners, educators, and educational institutions based on their achievement level.
  • In most cases, such tests have proven to help improve students’ performance by leading students to have healthy competition among them.

Cons:

There are certain aspects of standardized testing that compels many organizations to reconsider the process of evaluation:

  • Objective, standardized testingencourages rote learning. Objectives questions like fill in the blanks, MCQs, and True False type’s questions judge the examinees’ factual knowledge.
standardized test, Objective standardized testing

Unlike essay type and open-ended questions that mostly depend on the writers’ creativity and skills, they can answer factual questions by memorizing the answers.

  • Standardized testing is not entirely reliable. It judges all learners based on the same parameters. Each learner’s learning style is unique, and the pattern of evaluation should also be distinct for each individual.
  • Often these tests ensure the effectiveness of the educational institutions and the facilitators. Students’ low scores many times determine the educational institution’s standard. They face the consequences that can also form opinions about the organizations.
  • Tests of such sort can be stressful for the students who are entirely under the pressure of passing the evaluation process, affecting their performance.

Conclusion

The tests’ results determine whether the students have met the learning process’s desired outcome, i.e., the teaching-learning process’s objective is fulfilled or not.

Overall, standardized testing is ideal for internal evaluation purposes and not for judging students’ overall achievement and values, teachers of the educational institutions.

Parents and facilitators should value and nurture students’ individuality and skills rather than a conclusion about their capabilities based on a standardized test.

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