5.2 Norms and Standards:

To interpret the meaning of raw scores, some point of reference is required. This point of reference can be either a “norm “or a “standard”. The normative provides a means by which the score of an individual (or the average score of a group) can be compared with the scores of a specified reference group. By using a class as the reference group, for example, one might state that Ahmed obtained a higher score on a map-reading test than that obtained by 99 percent of the students in his fifth-grade class. This tells us that Ahmed’s performance in relation to the rest of his class was very good, but it does not necessarily mean that rest of his class was very good, but it necessary mean that he can read a map with the proficiency desirable for a fifth-grade student. A decision as to whether a desired level of proficiency has been reached can be made only by evaluating his test performance against an established standard of performance. Norms describe the actual performance of a specified group, whereas standards represent desired outcomes of instruction on a desired level of performance.Most test theory associated with achievement testing assumes the use of a normative scoring system and often is not applicable to the teacher’s problems in test construction and interpretation. It should be recognized, however, that both norms and standards have an appropriate, though some what different, role in educational measurement.

Use of Normative Test Scores:

Since the use of normative data to interpret test scores requires comparison of an individual’s score with those made by a reference group, scores will be meaningless. Unless the reference group is carefully defined. For example, a student’s rank with respect to a norm or reference group on a test of quantitative reasoning will have no meaning unless we know the composition of the reference group. Did the student who obtained a score higher than 25 percent of a norm group do better than 25 percent of the students in a school for retarded children, or was his score superior to the score superior to the scores of 25 percent of a national sample of graduate students majoring in physics? Probably the most valid use of normative scores in education lies in the selection of a restricted number of students from a group for admission to college, scholarship awards, or assignment to a class for advanced instruction. When only a limited number can be chosen, comparative test scores often afford the best basis for selection. If only one academic scholarship is to be awarded, all other factors being equal, it should go to the student with the highest score on a selection test.Normative scores can also be used to determine how well individual students are progressing compared with others in the same reference group. Normative scores may, in addition, be useful in comparing the performance of a class with that of similar classes within a school or with other groups such as those represented by national norms. In other words, normative scores can appropriately be used when we wish to estimate the position of an individual or group relative to a defined reference group.

Test Scores as standards of performance:

Despite the usefulness of normative scores, the exclusive use of such scores for both published and classroom test is inappropriate and undesirable. Although it is sometimes important to know how the score of one student compares with the scores of others (a normative approach), it is often more important to interpret a test score as a measure of the extent to which specified standards of performance have been achieved and as an indication of readiness for further instruction. For example, a particular score on a map-reading test may be interpreted area. as indicating adequate skill in this Specifically, the score may demonstrate that with a standard globe or flat map with parallels and meridians, can sta Ahmed can state the approximate latitude and longitude of any given point, using the terms latitude, longitude, degress, north, south, east and west correctly. On the basis of test results, Ahmed has proved himself ready to acquire additional skills in map reading. In other words, an achievement test score should have some intrinsic meaning as a measure of present achievement. It can then provide valuable feed back to both pupil and instructor so that step by step progress toward meaningful and clearly defined goals can be planned in terms of what has already been achieved. Acceptable achievement cannot be satisfactorily defined by comparing an individual’s test performance with that of other members of the class or other groups of which he is a member. The teacher himself must decide by careful analysis of in structional objectives and test content whether the test score indicates that the student has attained the desired standard of achievement and is ready for the next step in the learning process or that he needs further instruction. Even for standardized published tests covering broad areas of instruction, it would be highly desirable for either the classroom teacher or national curriculum committees to establish standards so that different scores might be interpreted as representing particular achievement levels.

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