Types of Tests

Standardized tests compare students' performance to that of a norming or sample group who are in the same grade or are of the same age. Students' performance is communicated in percentile ranks, grade-equivalent scores, normal-curve equivalents, scaled scores, or stanine scores.

Examples: Iowa Tests; SAT; DRP; ACT


A student's performance is measured against a standard. One form of criterion-referenced assessment is the benchmark, a description of a key task that students are expected to perform.

Examples: DIBELS; Chapter tests; Driver's License Test; FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test)


Survey tests typically provide an overview of general comprehension and word knowledge.

Examples: Interest surveys; KWL; Learning Styles Inventory

Diagnostic Tools

Diagnostic tests assess a number of areas in greater depth.

Examples: Woodcock-Johnson®; BRI; "The Fox in the Box"

Formal Tests

Formal tests may be standardized. They are designed to be given according to a standard set of circumstances, they have time limits, and they have sets of directions which are to be followed exactly.

Examples: SAT; FCAT; ACT

Informal Tests

Informal tests generally do not have a set of standard directions. They have a great deal of flexibility in how they are administered. They are constructed by teachers and have unknown validity and reliability.

Examples: Review games; Quizzes

Static (Summative) Tests

Measures what the student has learned.

Examples: End-of-chapter tests; Final examinations; Standardized state tests

Dynamic (Formative) Tests

Measures the students' grasp of material that is currently being taught. Can also measure readiness. Formative tests help guide and inform instruction and learning.

Examples: Quizzes; Homework; Portfolios

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