The Key to Understanding Student Test Scores

Have you ever received ineterim assessment scores for your students with a few scores that make you wonder, how in the world did that happen? You sometimes find scores that seem to not make sense because many assessments are not transparent. The key to understanding student test scores so that you can improve learning is using a transparent assessment.

The key to understanding student test scores so that you can improve learning is using a transparent assessment.

With a transparent assessment, you have the opportunity to drill into your data and learn exactly what happened in each student’s test experience. Maybe some standards were assessed that you had not yet taught. Or, it could be a student skipped several questions and rushed on a few others lowering her score. With a transparent test, you can investigate where her performance surprsied you and even review the test with your student to discuss what her thinking was for specific questions where her performance was unexpected.

The key to understanding student test scores
It would be nice if a summary score and some sub-scores were all the information needed. However, in today's classroom that is not the case. Transparency is the key feature of a high quality standardized test and allows you to understand both the needs of your student and the meaning of your student’s scores.

Here is some of the key information offered by a transparent assessment:

  • The subject, domain and standard for each question
  • The total time your student spent working on the test
  • The time the student spent working on each test question
  • An indicator as to whether your student answered the question correctly, incorrectly or skipped the question
  • The ability to see the question as it was presented to the student
  • The answer your student provided to each question
  • The correct answer that is expected for each question
  • An easy mechanism for you to provide feedback to the assessment creator on each question

If you cannot pull back the curtain on the assessment process itself, you can not always decipher meaning from a student's scores. For example, two students might receive the same score from your universal screening, but how you respond to those scores and what meaning you infer about your students' learning depends on an analysis of the screener experience itself. If the screener you are using does not permit you to analyze the student’s test experience, then you are left wondering what does the score actually mean.


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Topics: Blog