Norm-Based Assessments

The interaction of technology and norm-based, or norm-referenced, assessment provides opportunities for the collection of interesting information related to student learning and development as well as introducing several issues and concerns. Reviewing the purpose of assessment is critical to the use and interpretation of assessments. Categorizing assessments can clarify purposes and help educators and policy makers address issues. This entry first discusses the benefits and disadvantages of norm-based assessment and its use in computer-based and computer adaptive testing. It then discusses some of the uses and potential uses of norm-based assessments.

A common type of assessment involves the comparison of scores to a standard— criterion-referenced —or to those from a group of similar individuals— norm-referenced. Royal Van Horn argued for the use of improvement-referenced assessment (criterion- ...

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