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In contemporary education and teaching field, assessment can be conceptualized as the process of determining how well learners have mastered the contents of the curriculum, or what they have been taught (Zucker, 2003). It is a measure of how well the learners can meet given criteria of competence in a given field or subject that has been taught in class or any other learning environment. Assessment can be carried out using various methods, which include the use of a learner’s portfolio, or evaluating the performance of the learner at a given level. Testing is one of the methods that can be used in assessing the progress of the learner. Various forms of tests are used to this end, which includes standardized tests, alternative tests among others (Zucker, 2003).
The Stanford Achievement Test Series is one such form of standardized test that is used to gauge the progress that has been made by learners at different grades in the United States of America. This paper is going to provide a summary of this well-documented assessment, including its reliability and validity as a testing tool.
Summary of Stanford Achievement Test Series, Tenth Edition
The purpose of this test is to measure the proficiency and progress that has been made by learners from kindergarten to grade 12 (Heyneman & Lehrer, 2006). It is aimed at achieving high standards of teaching and learning in school districts and individual schools.
The test can be provided in the form of multiple-choice questions, short answers and extended response (Mendus, 2008). The learner may be expected to draw graphs and other illustrations of their works.
This test is made up of three components. The first is the Stanford Early School Achievement Test (herein referred to as SESAT), which is administered on learners in kindergarten and the first half of the first grade of learning in the United States of America (Badders, 2010). The second is the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT), which is administered on learners from the second half of the first grade to the ninth grade of learning (Mendus, 2008). The last one is the Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK), administered on learners from the ninth grade all way to the 12th grade (Mendus, 2008: Popham, 2011).
Why Choose the Stanford Achievement Test Series?
There are various benefits of this test that made it to be the assessment test of choice for this author. These benefits are linked to the values that the test will have on the author’s teaching profession.
First of all, the test is standardized, meaning that it can be used to measure the progress of learners from different backgrounds and in different learning environments. Being standardized, the test is also aligned with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, which has been adopted by school districts in the United States of America. Each item in this test is aimed at gauging the achievement of the learner in four areas, making this a comprehensive assessment tool. These areas include the content of learning, the process of learning, the cognitive level of the learner and the teacher’s instructional standard (Badders, 2010). The test also caters for learners with special needs, given that it can be provided in Braille and large prints for those visually impaired. The author will use this test in their teaching career.
Validity and Reliability of the Test
The test is reliable as it is a consistent form of learning assessment. It is taken by all students, and all the students tackle similar questions according to their level of learning. The test is valid as it can measure what is intended, in this case, the progress of the learner (Badders, 2010). The test has been used extensively in the past, and peer review has indicated that it is both reliable and valid.
How Data from the Test is Used
The results of the test reflect the progress made by the learner and can be used by the teacher to better plan their class instructions and hence improve their teaching. Education administrators can use the results of the test in documenting and monitoring the progress that is being made by all the learners in a given district or state (Heyneman & Lehrer, 2006). Schools and school districts with learning difficulties are identified, given the fact that the test is standard. Parents can also use the results of the test to monitor the achievement of their children and to better understand how they can help them in the future.
Standardized assessment and testing, especially after the introduction of the No Child Left Behind policy, has been criticized as having degraded the quality of instructions given by teachers in class. This is given the fact that the teachers are teaching for the test, as opposed to teaching the learners to be competent. However, despite these limitations, standardized tests remain some of the best tools for assessing the performance of learners. It is as a result of this that this author advocates for the use of the Stanford Achievement Test Series in gauging the performance of learners.
Badders, W. (2010). Methods of assessment. Web.
Heyneman, S., & Lehrer, R. (2006). Should standardized tests be used to assess the progress of NCLB? Peabody Reflector, Fall 2006.
Mendus, A. (2008). Stanford Achievement Test Series information. Web.
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Popham, J. W. (2011). Standardized testing fails the exam. Web.
Zucker, S. (2003). Fundamentals of standardized testing. Pearson Education Inc., December 2003.