Methods of Assessment

answer - 23. What are norm-referenced tests? Criterion-referenced tests?

Norm-referenced: The purpose is to compare the level of performance of an individual with the general standard of performance shown by the total group that he or she belongs to and can be compared with. e.g. IQ test.

A Norm-referenced test compares the behaviour of the individual with the behaviour of others.

Criterion-referenced tests: Emphasis is not on how individual stands with his/her peers BUT on whether or not individual student knows something rather specific that (s)he ought to know or can perform something specific that (s)he is supposed to be able to do.

A Criterion-referenced test describes the behaviour of individual with reference to externally predetermined & specified objectives. The criterion is some externally defined object.

Examples: Attainment scales for Cambridge Oral Examiners or B.J. Carroll's operational specifications: set of performance criteria e.g. learner possesses level of skills necessary to allow him or her to function adequately as a tourist.

In NORM-REFERENCED testing, the primary purpose is to DISCRIMINATE. Item difficulty: Finding out the % of people in a try-out group who got the item right.

Item discrimination - one rejects items that are too easy or too difficult in a norm-referenced test, since those items do not contribute very much to TOTAL DISCRIMINATION.

To establish "discrimination values" compare those individuals who succeed on a given item with those who score highly on the test as a whole. Desired discrimination: those who score high/low in the test as a whole pass/fail the item.

In CRITERION-REFERENCED testing, each objective is taken one by one. Not interested in the global sum. We assume that there are two kinds of individuals - those who can carry out the operation and those who cannot.

We are interested in dividing them up into two entirely separate discontinuous groups. But dichotomy of criterion referenced tests. There is a third group of people within the population who are currently engaged in the process of learning to carry out the operation. In this group there will be a continuous rather than a Yes/No distribution. It is the job of the items in a criterion-referenced test to reflect a dichotomy. The individuals in the 3rd group will pass some and fail other items.