ACHIEVEMENT TESTS

Tests designed to measure knowledge or skill attained through training in a specific subject or area. Achievement tests are usually grouped into two categories: general batteries covering the major academic areas; and special instruments, including readiness tests, diagnostic tests, content-area tests, vocational achievement tests, and tests for the professions. The general batteries and content area tests will be briefly described below, and the special tests will be discussed under individual topics. For industrial achievement tests, or trade tests, see PERSONNEL TESTS. Metropolitan Achievement Tests. A widely administered series consisting of five batteries, each available in three or four equivalent forms, and covering grades 1, 2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-9. The items deal with word knowledge, word discrimination, reading, arithmetic (concepts and skills, problem solving, computation), spelling, language (usage, pronunciation and capitalization, parts of speech and grammar, kinds of sentences), language-studies skills (use of dictionary and other references), social- studies skills (maps, tables, graphs), and science. Individual score profiles are constructed and converted into grade equivalents according to norms based on samples of the public school population. Sequential Tests of Educational Progress (STEP). The following seven tests are available at each of four levels— grades 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, 13-14: Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Language Comprehension, and Essay Writing. Parallel forms are provided at each level and all tests except the essays are of the multiple- choice variety. Though specific knowledge is often needed, the stress is on the application of learning to the solution of new, realistic problems. There is also special emphasis on the use of communication skills as in the essay test, listening and comprehension test, as well as the writing tests in which the subjects indicate how they would try to improve actual writing specimens. Even though these tests are timed, like the Metropolitan Tests, they are essentially power rather than speed tests. The scoring methods also differ in that performance on any one of the STEP tests is expressed in terms of a single scale for all grades. All scores can be transformed into percentiles, and a profile is constructed for each student showing his relative standing on the different tests. In constructing these tests, committees of leading educators representing all school levels participated with specialists of the Educational Testing Service. The two instruments just described illustrate two major types of general achievement tests. Other general batteries include the Stanford Achievement Test, which covers grades 1-3, 3-4, 5-6, 7-9, and consists of items on arithmetic, reading, science, study skills, and social studies; the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, for grades 3-9, offering tests of vocabulary, reading comprehension, language, arithmetical skills, and word-study skills; the California Achievement Test, which covers grades 1 -2, 3-4, 4-6, 7-9, 9-14, and consists of tests of reading vocabulary, reading comprehension, arithmetic fundamentals, arithmetic reasoning, mechanics of English and spelling; the SRA Achievement Series, which includes forms for grades 2- 4, 4-6, 6-9, and offers tests in reading, language perception, language arts, arithmetic, and work-study skills; the Tests of Academic Promise; and the new Fundamental Achievement Series. General batteries are also available for levels above grade school. The Essential High School Content Batteries, the Evaluation and Adjustment Series, and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development are all designed for the high school level and stress specific sciences, English and social studies, as well as the general application of thought processes and data in dealing with problematic situations. In addition, the Cooperative General Achievement Tests are designed for high school seniors and college freshmen; the Cooperative General Culture Test has been constructed for college use, particularly at the sophomore level; and the new Adult Basic Learning Examination (ABLE), consisting of practical problems in vocabulary, reading, spelling and arithmetic, has been specifically designed for undereducated adults, to assess their ability to participate in adult-education classes and programs conducted by penal institutions and special agencies such as the Job Corps. Special and Content-Area Tests. A large number of specialized achievement tests have been devised for educational use. The Wide Range Achievement Test, revised in 1965, is an individual test used primarily for remedial and vocational purposes. It indicates level of skill in oral reading, spelling and computation, with the examiner adjusting the testing range to various levels from kindergarten to college. One of the most important tests of reading ability is the Davis Reading Test, which provides a continuous measure of level and speed of comprehension for grades eight to eleven and eleven to thirteen. A newly revised series of tests, the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests, based on a representative sample of 40,000 pupils in 38 communities, has recently replaced the widely used Gates Reading Tests. Four tests in the field of science are Biology: BSCS Final Examination, for use at the end of a high school course; the Processes of Science Test, designed to measure understanding of scientific principles, reasoning and methods of inquiry; the Cooperative Science Tests; and the Test of Scientific Knowledge, measuring the student’s background in general science through questions on factual information and principles. The following is a list of other widely used achievement tests in special subjects: Anderson-Fiske Chemistry Test, Blyth Second-Year Algebra Test, Contemporary Mathematics Test, Cooperative Mathematics Tests, Crary American History Test, Cumming’s World History Test, Dunning-Abeles Physics Test, Lankton First-Year Algebra Test, MLA Cooperative Foreign Language Tests, Modern Math Understanding Test, Nelson Biology Test, Pimsleur Modem Foreign Language Proficiency Tests (French, German, Spanish), Stanford Modern Mathematics Concepts Test, Wisconsin Contemporary Test of Elementary Mathematics.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "ACHIEVEMENT TESTS," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/achievement-tests/ (accessed November 19, 2019).
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