What is the importance of achievement tests in education?

The achievement test is a mechanism inherent in any educational process; it is a procedure for assessing educational outcomes and evaluating different levels of learners.

Educators can’t administer the teaching process without achievement tests, neither in evaluating their students nor in evaluating their teaching methods, nor can learners assess their performance without undergoing them!

But why do achievement tests take on this importance?

You will get a detailed answer to this question in the following lines, where we will discuss the concept of achievement tests, their different types, their intended goals, and the ways in which modern technology has increased their value.

What are Achievement Tests?

Achievement tests are a mechanism used to assess a person’s performance in a particular field.

They are used in several fields, such as sports, but are more commonly associated with education and training.

Achievement Tests in Education

Achievement tests in education refer to the process used to determine a learner’s academic achievement and cognitive performance in a particular course or instructional program.

Achievement Tests in education

These tests are administered at all levels of education, either daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or at the end of each educational period.

The main objective of the achievement tests is to assess the learners’ cognitive abilities in the course

in question and to determine the success or failure of the previously planned educational objectives

of that course.

Traditional achievement tests were intended to serve this purpose but were inadequate due to their shortcomings, such as:

  • The focus is on assessing initial cognitive skills such as retention and recall and does not go beyond that to measure higher skills such as criticism or analysis; this creates a significant gap between what a learner learns and what they live.
  • Measuring the educational goals in this way isn’t truly sufficient because achievement tests do not usually provide comprehensive coverage of the curriculum.
  • There is a lack of objectivity, which neglects an important element of testing: consistency.

As pedagogical concepts and their mechanisms have evolved, different notions of achievement tests have emerged, focusing on measuring deeper levels of knowledge and assessing more learners’ abilities such as IQ, thinking skills, practical performance, etc.

Importance of Achievement Tests

The achievement test is an indispensable procedure for the functioning and development of the learning system.

But before talking about the importance of the achievement test, Let’s get a closer look at its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages of Achievement tests

  • Achievement tests provide detailed data on learners’ academic performance and contribute to the formulation of curriculum development and adaptation to them to be more appropriate and useful to learners.
  • It helps in addressing the problems of different education systems and improving them.
  • Evaluating the professional performance of teachers, distinguishing between teachers who are fully performing their tasks and others who still need to develop their potential and deepen their experience.
  • Using different assessment methods to accurately determine the level of learner engagement in the curriculum.
  • Its results and analysis are an incentive for all members of the education system to improve the educational climate.
  • It contributes to an objective assessment of teachers’ competence, curricula, and pedagogical practices.

Importance of Achievement Tests

Disadvantages of Achievement Tests

Despite all the advantages that achievement tests offer, there are some shortcomings that should be noted, in particular:

  • Preparing, administering, and analyzing the results requires a lot of time, effort, and resources.
  • Sometimes the tests can be subjective, so their results are not considered as accurate as they need to be.
  • They are not considered the best option to combat the phenomenon of cheating.
  • They can have a negative impact on examiners, so many find it a nervous strain, as their educational and professional future depends on the exam results.
  • The resources spent on preparing for and conducting examinations are greater than those spent on activities and events that reinforce the role of the educational process.
  • Learners are often led to care only about passing the exam and neglect everything related to acquiring real knowledge or new skills.

Importance of Achievement Tests in Education

Achievement tests are used at different educational levels where it plays a significant role within the educational system, namely:

  • The systematic analysis of the objectives of the education curriculum; the identification and analysis of the objectives is the first step in the construction of the achievement test.
  • In addition, they provide sufficient evidence for decision-making regarding a learner’s transition from one level of learning to a higher level.
  • An achievement test is also a recognized mechanism for providing indications of each learner’s academic development by matching that development to predetermined educational goals.
  • Teaching teachers about the effectiveness of the modern teaching methods they rely on to teach and manage the educational process in the classroom.
  • Diagnosing strengths and weaknesses in learners’ performance, formulating educational plans that ensure the development of strengths, and the treatment of weaknesses.
  • Improving learners’ skills and training in dealing with examination pressure and providing the necessary mental and psychological efforts.

Importance of Achievement tests in Education

Characteristics of Achievement tests

Achievement tests are characterized by a number of components that ensure that the objectives of the achievement test are achieved efficiently and effectively.

The most important features of the test are:

Validity

When the content of the test is appropriate to assess its specific purpose and does not assess other purposes instead.

Objectivity

An objective test is one in which the same examiner receives the same score, even if the correctors are different.

Clarity

Each test must be associated with a clear and specific purpose before it is administered.

Types of Achievements tests

To achieve their objectives, achievement tests are diversified and multiplied to provide a comprehensive assessment of the learner, the teacher, the curriculum, the teaching methods, and even the educational environment.

Achievement tests differ according to the scale on which it is classified as follows:

Types of Achievement tests according to the time scale

  • Daily.
  • Weekly.
  • Monthly.
  • Quarterly.
  • Semi-Annually.
  • Annually.

Types of Achievement tests according to their objective

  • Predictive tests: they aim to anticipate the level of performance that the examinee will achieve in learning a subject or performing a particular skill.
  • Diagnostic tests: They aim to determine what the examinee has already learned as well as to diagnose learning difficulties that may hinder him/her.
  • Speed tests: They are determined by a specific response time to measure how quickly the examinee can give the correct answers.
  • Performance tests: They are not timed and aim to measure the greatest percentage of correct answers that the examinee can give.
  • Competency tests: They aim to assess the examiner’s efficiency and ability to answer the questions correctly.

Types of Achievement tests

Types of Achievement tests according to the type of test

  • Written tests.
  • Oral tests.
  • Practical tests (performance).

The following lines deal with each of these types separately.

Written Tests

Written tests include two different types of questions, namely: Standardized Questions and Essay Questions.

Standardized questions

This type of question is called standardized because it does not allow for a wide range of answers as essay questions do, but accepts only one correct answer and thus does not allow for personal bias on the part of the question developing or correcting

Standardized tests come in several forms, perhaps most noticeably:

Multiple-choice questions MCQ

These are flexible questions suitable for any level of education and can assess a wide range of simple or compound skills, but they require considerable preparation.

Fill the Gap

These questions do not require a great deal of preparation and cover multiple different parts of the curriculum.

However, they can be subjective if the examiner gives a correct answer but not the intended answer; to avoid this, the examiner must choose questions that do not include multiple answers.

True or False

These questions aim to assess the examiner’s ability to distinguish facts and make decisions.

However, this does not adequately capture the curriculum.

Matching

These are easy questions to design but are not suitable for assessing complex skills or in-depth knowledge.

Essay questions

These questions, whether open or restricted responses are extremely important.

As they are designed to measure linguistic and expressive skills, and the ability to link and narrate the reporter’s information in a balanced rationale.

In a way that achieves accurate measurement of complex educational outcomes.

Note that a mixture of standardized and essay questions is recommended to maximize the desired benefit of the achievement tests.

However, some teachers are hesitant because of the amount of time and effort required to correct.

To solve the problem of the required effort of correction, you can use Qorrect system, which supports the correction of handwritten essay questions.

Oral tests

Oral tests are the oldest form of achievement tests.

They are used in many practice colleges, and also in postgraduate courses at various universities.

Oral tests are characterized by the fact that they do not require a significant amount of time and effort to conduct or correct.

Performance tests

This type of test assesses the examinee’s level of performance in areas where they have to perform, such as swimming or gymnastics tests in Physical Education Faculties.

Performance tests are used in many fields, for example:

  • Military academies.
  • Engineering faculties.
  • Practical examinations in physics, chemistry, and other sciences.

The administration of achievement tests of any kind is:

  1. either attributed to the teacher, which is called formative assessment.
  2. or to the education departments to organize standardized tests which are called summative assessments, such as the Egyptian general secondary school exams or the Saudi achievement tests.

Visit our blog to learn more about the difference between formative and summative assessment.

Objectives of Achievement tests

The most important goal of the achievement test is to use the results to determine whether learners can advance to higher levels of learning, and also employ them in educational development plans.

In addition to this goal, there are several other goals, the most important of which are:

  • Classifying learners and assigning them to the appropriate departments and areas.
  • Diagnosis of the strengths and weaknesses of all aspects of the educational process, enabling the development of appropriate plans to maximize the strengths and eliminate the weaknesses.
  • Evaluate the development rate of learners and the success or failure of the educational process in achieving its specific objectives.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of educational methods and systematic interventions in achieving their objectives and their appropriateness for the age and mental levels of the learners.

Objectives of Achievement tests

Achievement Tests Analysis

Achievement tests cannot be administered without an analysis of their results!

As the results determine the level of learners, the appropriateness of the instructional materials, and the degree of authenticity, completeness, and objectivity of the tests.

They also identify the overall success and failure rates and the strengths and weaknesses of all curricula.

In order to Analyze the results of the examination, two types of tests need to be distinguished:

Criterion-referenced tests

Learner results are analyzed by criterion-referenced tests based on comparing the results of a learner or group of learners with a standard or test set by the teacher.

Norm-referenced tests

Results are analyzed in norm-referenced tests based on a comparison of learners’ results with each other.

In making such comparisons and analyzing the results, educators rely either on simple means such as Excel or on more professional and advanced techniques such as the Qorrect system.

How does Qorrect help you analyze achievement test results?

Qorrect system is your ideal option to thoroughly analyze your test results and help you make the right decisions for the development of your educational institution by providing:

  • Detailed reports on educators’ overall success and failure rates.
  • Flexible compatibility with any technical system you use in your educational institution, so you can transfer all data and reports on tests and results from Qorrect to any other technical system.
  • Instant reports on all scheduled exams.
  • Sending result reports to educators, either by email to each examiner or online.
  • Various and comprehensive reports on the tests you have recorded in the Qorrect system.

 

In addition to analyzing test results, Qorrect provides you with various comprehensive analyses of all tests, the quality of questions used, the appropriateness or inappropriateness of questions, and the difficulty level.

You can enjoy all this and much more with the unique Qorrect system.

Book a free demo now to find out how Qorrect can help you organize your achievement tests in a highly professional way!

 

References

Achievement Testing in Education: Meaning & Examples

Testing and assessment

Achievement test

How Achievement Tests Measure What People Have Learned

About Leila Atta

Content Marketing Specialist on the Qorrect Marketing team. She earned a BA in Political Science from Alexandria University in 2018. She volunteered for several Egyptian social organizations before starting her career in marketing as a content writer for law, translation, digital marketing, and now educational technology.

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