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Compare criterion and norm-referenced tests for MR students

What are the advantages and disadvantages of norm- and criterion-related assessments and formative and summative evaluations?

"When the cook tastes the soup, that's formative; when the guests taste the soup, that's summative."

Norm- and criterion-related assessments MUST be used in both types of evaluation. Criterion referenced refers to how our student measures up to some standard set by an outside source.

For example, a criterion would be to be able to jump a certain height, or to read a certain set of words. which is probably not true in the case of an mentall retarded (MR) student. Maybe one criterion would be that the student be able to name his/her colors by a certain time.

Norm-referenced tests are tests which compare the student being tested with all other students. Norm-referenced tests are used to classify students, to place them. MR students by definition do not test as well as other students his/her age.

The advantage of a norm-referenced test is that it shows us how our student is doing related to other students across the country. A disadvantage is that they are standardized and do not show small increments of gain. They are good for using for placement at the beginning and then again four or six months later, or at the end of the year. This will show growth over the period of the time.

Norm-referenced (also called standardized or criterion-referenced) tests along with informal observational evaluation are useful for showing student growth over time. They aren't to be used for grading though they can be one element in a total grade. One must remember we can't expect great growth, if any, over short periods of times, particularly as shown on a norm-referenced test.

The definition of retarded is "slowed." That means that the growth of our students is slowed, but in most cases, for many things and for most students, not stopped. As a matter of fact, it is just unlikely for a "normal" population of students to show much growth even after a semester's time. These tests are not intended for measuring small increments of gain.

Criterion-related tests are nice because we can see just what our student accomplished. So now, after three months, s/he can recognize 35 more words, or maybe 65 more words than s/he could before. The student can name all the colors. The student is now putting away toys where they belong where before s/he either would not or could not.

Solution Preview

"When the cook tastes the soup, that's formative; when the guests taste the soup, that's summative."

I would say that both norm- and criterion-related assessments MUST be used in both types of evaluation. Criterion referenced refers to how our student measures up to some standard set by an outside source.

For example, a criterion would be to be able to jump a certain height, or to read a certain set of words. which is probably not true in the case of an mentall retarded (MR) student. Maybe one criterion would be that the student be able to name his/her colors by a certain time.

Norm-referenced tests are tests which compare the student being tested with all other students. Norm-referenced tests are used to classify students, to place them. MR students by definition do not test as well as other students his/her age.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of norm- and criterion-related assessments and formative and summative evaluations?

The advantage of a norm-referenced test is that it shows us how our student is doing related to other students across the country. A disadvantage is that they are standardized and do not show small increments of gain. They are good for using for placement at the beginning and then again four or six months later, or at the end of the year. This will show growth over the period of the time.

Some authors will say that standardized tests are biased. Norm-referenced tests are by definition standardized - that is to say they are tests which compare students against their cohorts, other students like them. They show where students ...

Solution Summary

This solution in over 1000 words compares criterion-referenced with norm-referenced assessment, particularly vis a vis mentally retarded (MR) students. It also defines formative and summative evaluation. Assessment should always be ongoing, from the most informal observation to the most formal criterion- and norm-referenced tests. Data gathered is used in an endless loop, whereby all assessment information is used to adjust instruction. This articles discusses advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as the application of each as both formative and summative in the evaluation/instruction loop. Outside links to current webpages, articles, references, diagrams and outside resources are included.

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