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Standardized Testing

Standardized testing is a commonly misunderstood term. In actuality, a standardized test requires adherence to identical administration and scoring of items/tasks across people, time, and places. This uniformity is reflected in clearly defined procedures in examiner's manuals, test books, and scoring guides.

Many types of standardized tests exist, including achievement, psychological, and licensure assessments. These tests may include a combination of open-ended and multiple-choice questions designed to measure a particular trait, such as mathematics, intelligence, or a job skill. An excellent example of a standardized achievement test is Terra Nova: Multiple Assessments Edition.

Standardization studies for these tests typically involve large nationally representative samples. These studies finalize administration and scoring procedures, establish test timing, and quantify student performance under the standardized procedures. Study participants are selected to accurately and fairly represent minority and socioeconomic groups across geographical regions and/or other demographic variable(s). This standardization procedure permits comparison of future students to the standardized group's performance.


Abbott, Susan. Standardized Testing. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Materials, 1997.

National Education Association of the United States. Standardized Testing Issues: Teachers' Perspectives. Washington, DC: National Education Association, 1977.

Linda J. McGarvey-Levin

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 7