What is Criterion-Referenced Assessment?
When we look at the types of assessment instruments, we can generally classify them into two main groups: Criterion-referenced assessments and norm-referenced assessments. Linn and Gronlund (2000) define these two types of assessments in the following:
"Norm-Referenced Assessment: A test or other type of assessment designed to provide a measure of performance that is interpretable in terms of an individual's relative standing in some known group.
Criterion-Referenced Assessment: A test or other type of assessment designed to provide a measure of performance that is interpretable in terms of a clearly defined and delimited domain of learning tasks." (p. 42)
These authors provide the following additional information about criterion-referenced assessments:
There are multiple ways to score a criterion-referenced assessment. These include:
- "...criterion-referenced tests include items that are directly relevant to the learning outcomes to be measured, without regard to whether the items can be used to discriminate among students. No attempt is made to eliminate easy items or alter their difficulty. If the learning tasks are easy, then test items will be easy. The goal of the criterion-referenced test is to obtain a description of the specific knowledge and skills each student can demonstrate. This information is useful for planning both group and individual instruction." (p. 43)
- "Criterion-referenced interpretations can be made in various ways. For example, we can (1) describe the specific learning tasks a student in able to perform (e.g., counts from 1 to 100), (2) indicate the percentage of tasks a student performs correctly (e.g., spells 65 percent of the words in the word list), or (3) compare the test performance to a set performance standard and decide whether the student meets a given standard (e.g., performed at the proficient level). (p. 43)
From: Linn, R. L., & Gronlund, N. E. (2000). Measurement and assessment in teaching (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- rating scales
- percent accurate
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