Assessment Matrix






These are standardized tests that are designed to compare and rank students in relation to one another. The top most ranked students are assumed to be the best in terms of performance, while the bottom ranked are the worst in terms of performance (Sattler (2008).

This is a test that provides a basis for determining the tested learner’s level of knowledge and skills as compared to a certain defined content. The test enables the evaluator to translate test scores into a description of the learner’s behavior in relations to a certain subject matter (Morrow, 2012).

Purpose of the Test

To rank the learners in respect to their success against the others.

To create a boundary between the top performers and the bottom performers.

To determine is the each learner has obtained some skills and understood the key learning concepts.

To assess how much the learner known before and after being instructed.


Content is selected according to how effective it is for the purpose of ranking students from the top performers to the least performers (Morrow, 2012).

The content is determined by how effective it will match the learning outcomes which are considered the most crucial (Sattler, 2008).


The norm referenced test uses questions which are correctly answered by the best performing students, and not ones which are answered correctly by the worst performing students (Reynolds et al, 2010). The items vary in difficulty level and each skill is normally tested by a limited number of items. The items that are selected are used to discriminate the top performers and the bottom performers.

This test uses questions which are correctly answered by the learners who know the specific material (Shrock &amp Coscarelli, 2008). Also, the item which tests any particular skill of parallel in difficulty level.


According to proponents, norm-referenced texts are relatively cheap and simple to administer. The quality is also generally high, and they are efficient in differentiating students and identifying those with certain weaknesses. They are also an objective evaluation method which can reduce bias when making educational policies (Morrow, 2012).

Sattler (2008) says that this test is better suited to evaluating the learner’s progress than the norm-referenced tests. Additionally, they provide the teachers with information which they can utilize to improve their content-delivery technique. They are also fairer to all students than the norm-referenced tests as they don’t compare them in general


According to Reynolds et al (2010), despite the fact that experts and test developers major decisions should not be made based on single tests, most educators use norm-referenced tests in making critical decisions. The tests also encourage teachers to view the students in terms of bell curve.

This test is only as accurate as per the standards opinion which they are based (Morrow, 2012). There is a possibility of setting tests which will be unfair to the learners, and which can kill their learning morale.

Test/Score Interpretations

A norm-referenced test is interpreted in relations to the large group’s performance (Sattler, 2008). For instance, if a student receives a percentile rank score of 57%, it means that they have performed better than 57% of the students that took the similar test. However, this interpretation provides little knowledge about the student’s abilities.

The test results give the students, teachers and parents information about how the content is valued and the importance of learning it (Reynolds et al, 2010). The learner’s score is expressed in percentage and their achievement reported for individual skills.

Sample tests:


IQ tests – theyare administered to test the learner’s Intelligence Quotient, whichcan be used to rank them against other students.

SAT tests- Usedfor college admissions. The results are used to grade the learners,and separate the most qualified from the least qualified.

Psychologicaltests- these tests are administered to rank the students’understanding capability, and the results are used to rank them intoclasses.

Criterion referenced texts

Driving texts -They are criterion referenced tests because they are designed to testwhether the learner has enough skills to be awarded a driver’slicense. The driver is not tested to be ranked against the otherdrivers.

Citizenship tests- They are criterion referenced texts because they are designed totest whether the learner knows enough about their new country’sfacts. The learner is not tested to be ranked against othercitizenship seekers.

Advancedplacement tests- a test to offer college-level curricula andexaminations to high school students. No ranking is done.


Morrow, K. (2012). Communicative language testing.&nbspTheCambridge Guide to Second Language Assessment, 140.

Reynolds, C. R., Livingston, R. B., Willson, V. L., &amp Willson, V.(2010).Measurement and assessment in education. PearsonEducation International.

Sattler, J. M. (2008).&nbspAssessment of children: Cognitivefoundations. JM Sattler.

Shrock, S. A., &amp Coscarelli, W. C. (2008).&nbspCriterion-referencedtest development: Technical and legal guidelines for corporatetraining. John Wiley &amp Sons.