Describe briefly the difference between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced instruments.

October 23, 2019

The difference between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced instruments.


What is the Criterion-referenced Test?

A criterion-referenced test is an assessment and test that measures student’s performance. Also, these measures the performance of the students alongside fixed criteria. These criteria’s include written and brief reports of what students are capable of doing at different stages.
In other words, the Criterion reference test is a set of fixed criteria. That used to measure student’s performance. Also, these assess the student’s performance.

What are Norm-referenced tests?

These test measure student’s performance in comparison to other students. Also, the age and question paper is same for both of them. They measure whether the students have performed better or worse than other test takers. It is the theoretical average determined by comparing scores.

How to interpret criterion-referenced tests

Criterion-referenced tests compare a person’s knowledge or skills against a predetermined standard, learning goal, performance level, or other criterion. With criterion-referenced tests, each person’s performance is compared directly to the standard, without considering how other students perform on the test. Criterion-referenced tests often use “cut scores” to place students into categories such as “basic,” “proficient,” and “advanced.
If you’ve ever been to a carnival or amusement park, think about the signs that read “You must be this tall to ride this ride!” with an arrow pointing to a specific line on a height chart. The line indicated by the arrow functions as the criterion; the ride operator compares each person’s height against it before allowing them to get on the ride.
Note that it doesn’t matter how many other people are in line or how tall or short they are; whether or not you’re allowed to get on the ride is determined solely by your height. Even if you’re the tallest person in line, if the top of your head doesn’t reach the line on the height chart, you can’t ride.
Criterion-referenced assessments work similarly: An individual’s score, and how that score is categorized, is not affected by the performance of other students. In the charts below, you can see the student’s score and performance category (“below proficient”) do not change, regardless of whether they are a top-performing student, in the middle, or a low-performing student.

How to interpret norm-referenced tests

Norm-referenced measures compare a person’s knowledge or skills to the knowledge or skills of the norm group. The composition of the norm group depends on the assessment. For student assessments, the norm group is often a nationally representative sample of several thousand students in the same grade (and sometimes, at the same point in the school year). Norm groups may also be further narrowed by age, English Language Learner (ELL) status, socioeconomic level, race/ethnicity, or many other characteristics.
One norm-referenced measure that many families are familiar with is the baby weight growth charts in the pediatrician’s office, which show which percentile a child’s weight falls in. A child in the 50th percentile has an average weight; a child in the 75th percentile weighs more than 75% of the babies in the norm group and the same as or less than the heaviest 25% of babies in the norm group; and a child in the 25th percentile weighs more than 25% of the babies in the norm group and the same as or less than 75% of them. It’s important to note that these norm-referenced measures do not say whether a baby’s birth weight is “healthy” or “unhealthy,” only how it compares with the norm group.
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