Assessment Key Terms

Achievement Tests
standardized tests that measure knowledge and skills in academic subject areas (i.

e., math, spelling, and reading).

describe changes in format, response, setting, timing, or scheduling that do not alter in any significant way what the test measures or the comparability of scores. They are designed to ensure that an assessment measures the intended construct, not the child’s disability. They affect 3 areas of testing: 1) the administration of tests, 2) how students are allowed to respond to the items and 3) the presentation of the tests (how the items are presented to the students on the test instrument)
Age Equivalent
the chronological age in a population for which a score is the median (middle) score.

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Age at which they are functioning.

Alternate Forms
two or more versions of a test that are considered interchangeable, in that they measure the same constructs in the same ways, are intended for the same purposes, and are administered using the same directions.
Alternative Assessment
Usually means an alternative to paper ad pencil test; refers to non-conventional methods of assessing achievement (e.

g., work samples and portfolios).

the process of testing and measuring skills and abilities. Includes aptitude tests, achievement tests, and screening tests.
Authentic Assessment
The student completes or demonstrates knowledge, skills, or behavior in a real-life context; real-world standards are used to measure the student’s knowledge, skills, or behavior
Basal level
the point below which the examiner assumes that the student could obtain all correct responses and at which the examiner begins testing
a group or series of tests, or subtests administered; the most common test batteries are achievement tests that include subtests in different areas.

Bell Curve
A distribution of scores used to scale a test. Most scores fall in the middle and a small number of scores at the low and high ends.
Levels of academic performance used as checkpoints to monitor progress toward performance goals and/ or academic standards
The highest level of performance or score that a test can reliably measure. The point above which the examiner assumes that the student would obtain all incorrect responses if the testing were to continue and at which the examiner stops testing
Classroom Assessment
An assessment developed, administered, and scored by a teacher to evaluate individual or classroom student performance.

Competency Tests
Tests that measure proficiency in subject areas like math and English. Some states require students pass these before graduating
Composite Score
The practice of combining two or more subtest scores to create an average score. For example, a reading performance score may be an average of vocabulary and reading comprehension subtest scores
Confidence Interval
The range within which the true score can be found. This is frequently called the band of error or confidence level
Content Area
An academic subject such as math, reading, or English
Content Standards
Expectations about what the child should know and be able to do in different subjects and grade levels; defines expected student skills and knowledge and what schools should teach.
Conversion Table
A chart used to translate test scores into different measures of performance (e.g., grade equivalents and percentile ranks)
Core Curriculum
Fundamental knowledge that all students are required to learn in school
The extent to which two or more scores vary together
Guidelines or rules that are used to judge performance
Criterion-Referenced Tests
The individual’s performance is compared to an objective or performance standard, not to the performance of other students. Tests determine if skills have been mastered; do not compare a child’s performance to that of other children.

Instructional plan of skills, lessons, and objectives on a particular subject; may be authored by a state, textbook publisher. A teacher typically executes this plan.
Derived Scores
The result of transforming raw scores to other types of scores.
Diagnostic Test
a test used to diagnose, analyze or identify specific areas of weakness and strength; to determine the nature of weakness or deficiencies; diagnostic achievement tests are used to measure skills.

A specific range of tests items
Error analysis
identifies patterns of errors in students’ works
Expected Growth
The average change in test scores that occurs over a specific time for individuals at age or grade levels.
Frequency Distribution
a method of displaying test scores
grade equivalent
test scores that equate a score to a particular grade level
holistic scoring
a type of scoring in which one score is produced in the evaluation of student work
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
The IDEA Amendments of 1997 mandates that all students with disabilities age 3 through 21 have an IEP. This written plan specifies the special education services that must be provided.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendment of 1997
These amendments to the IDEA specify special education services under two parts– part B specifies special education service for children and youth ages 3-21. Part C describes early intervention services for infants and toddlers, both through age 2. Part B & C of IDEA mandate specific requirements relating to assessment process that teachers and test examiners must know and understand
Informal Testing
A broad category of assessment approches that do not include standardized tests
Intelligence tests
tests that measure aptitude or intellectual capacities
Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
score achieved on an intelligence test that identifies learning potential
A question or exercise in a test or assessment
Interval Scale
the items on the scale are the same distance apart; the scale does not have an absolute zero
Mastery Level
The cutoff score on a criterion-referenced or mastery test; people who score at or above the cutoff score are considered to have mastered the material; mastery may be an arbitrary judgment
Average score; sum of individual scores divided by the total number of scores
The middle score in a distribution or set of ranked scores; the point (score) that divides a group into 2 equal parts; the 50th percentile
the score of value that occurs most often in a distribution
Changes in the content, format, and or administration of a test to accommodate test takers who are unable to take the test under standard test conditions.

they alter what the test is designed to measure or the comparability of scores

Multidisciplinary Team
Professionals from 2 or more disciplines or professions are involved in the provision of integrated and coordinated services including assessment activities.