With mainstream education, it is certainly true that there are countless tests and learning tools that are brought in to manage and test the progress of students – not to mention mapping their learning journey as they move through the education system.
One example is an achievement test – something that is used to measure the understanding that a child has pertaining to a certain subject, and something that unsurprisingly has numerous uses throughout modern education.
But what exactly are they used for, and what do they entail?
What Exactly Are Achievement Tests?
While there are many examples of achievement tests, the most common ones that most people will be familiar with are the exams that are taken by every student in school.
These are usually taken at the end of a specific semester, or at the end of the overall school year, where they will often decide (or go towards) specific grades for the following school year.
These tests are designed to test the progress and understanding that students have in certain subjects, and to see that they are on track to progress to the next grade or level of education.
What Are They Used For?
Generally speaking, achievement tests are used to set goals, measure outcomes, and develop an understanding about where a student is within their peer group and their own personal development.
They can be used to establish groups that the students will be assigned to – be it in terms of focus or skill level – or it could be used to see which students need more work and time in certain areas.
What Are The Outcomes?
Of course, an individual student’s performance on an achievement test can have notable implications for their immediate future education.
If the child meets/exceeds their goals – based on the knowledge they should have at their specific grade – then they will be granted access to the next level of education, and will be shown to be progressing at a good and acceptable level.
However, any child that does not manage to meet the expected level of achievement for the level they are at may face remediation, extra credit work, or repeating tests.
When Are Achievement Tests Used?
While they are most commonplace in mainstream K-12 education, achievement tests also feature in numerous areas of education and life – where their usefulness is undisputed.
Achievement tests can be a great way for parents and educators to see that homeschooled students are meeting their goals, and whether the system of homeschooling is having benefits for that specific student.
This could be in the form of a comparison of test results between mainstream and homeschooling, or it could be to see whether they are benefiting from a more hands-on, personal education approach.
They could also be used in extracurricular activities, such as dance, sports, or martial arts, to see where students are at, where their grading should be, and whether they are suitable for progression – such as in martial arts, where the student might progress to a higher belt color.
Achievement tests are not just a thing for grade school students, and depending on the nature of the college courses you are taking, they could also be used at college level to assess understanding, progression, and learning.
Of course, this is only suited to certain subjects, but it can nonetheless be a useful tool for gauging overall progress in a subject.
Achievement Test Vs Aptitude Test
While achievement tests and aptitude tests might seem like similar concepts, they are actually very different from one another – and have different applications within education.
How Do They Differ?
An aptitude test is generally designed to gauge how successful you will be within a certain subject.
For example, students might take an aptitude test for a specific career, or to help them see where their skills lie, whereas an achievement test is designed to see how well someone has understood a specific subject or module.
How Have Achievement Tests Changed?
Since the introduction of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, achievement tests have taken much more of a front seat in the education system, and play a much more important role in assessing progress, setting goals, and predicting outcomes for students in certain subjects and modules.
They have also been used to assess the proficiency of students – with proficiency referring to the amount of grade-appropriate knowledge that a student has come testing time.
This is working on the somewhat divisive understanding that “better” teachers teach students more things, thus increasing their achievement test scores, and turning out more proficient students as a whole.
However, the actual efficacy of this test has been questioned, with many stating that it fails to take into account those with special requirements, neurodiversities, and learning difficulties.
What Benefits Are There To Homeschooling?
However, achievement tests are indeed a good way of monitoring the progress of homeschooled students – namely as a means of education systems being able to see that students are progressing at an acceptable rate outside of mainstream education.
As well as this, it is also a good way for both parent and student to set personal goals for the child – goals that have been shown to have much more benefit due to the personal touch and approach that homeschooling offers children.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about achievement tests, and the role they play in homeschooling children.
It is certainly true that there are many aspects to modern education – with new ideas being introduced to help the specific learning needs of students, and ensuring that children of all circumstances and abilities have everything they need to thrive and achieve.
So if you want to know more about achievement tests, then be sure to refer to this handy guide. Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!