Sunday, February 17, 2013

Education Talk, Part 2

Testing Terms

There is an increased emphasis on test scores – not just to evaluate students but also to evaluate teachers and schools. Many question the validity of all this testing and the interpretation of the scores, but that is another issue. For now, let’s just look at the terms that describe these assessments and how they are scored and used by educators, administrators, and the state of Indiana.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) - is the measure of a school’s (or corporation’s or state’s) yearly progress toward achieving state standards. It is determined by a collection of measurements.

Benchmark - is the level of performance individual students should show by a particular point in their schooling.

DRA - is the acronym for Developmental Reading Assessment. It is a tool teachers use to assess and record students’ reading development. Originally developed for Kindergarten through grade three, it is now available for grades K through 8.

DIBELS - is the acronym for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. This one-on-one assessment checks letter and word recognition skills, fluency and comprehension of primary-age students.

Standardized Tests - are the same test with the same content for all who take them; they often use multiple-choice questions, time limits, and scoring rubrics.

SAT - formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is really a standardized achievement test and is widely used as a college entrance examination. It measures mathematical reasoning and critical reading and writing skills. This test is a basis for many scholarship awards.

PSAT - is a preliminary SAT that is usually given to sophomores and juniors to introduce them to and give them practice on the SAT. This test also serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test – the initial screening for this prestigious academic scholarship program.

ACT - is another college entrance examination. Some colleges prefer this test to the SAT because the ACT also includes a science reasoning section.

Criterion-Referenced Tests - measure how well a student has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills.

Norm-Reference Tests - are assessments in which an individual or group’s performance is compared with that of a larger group.

Formative Assessments - are assessments that take place during a unit or lesson. This is usually designed and implemented by the teacher and provides feedback to that teacher. This is often called assessment for learning.

Summative Assessments - are assessments of learning. They are used to discover what a student has learned. This formal process usually happens toward the end of a unit or grading period.

Watch this blog for more terms and explanations about “testing” and “literacy.”
Feel free to share this information.

Click HERE for an alphabetized list of terms included in all the Education Talk postings.

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