Types and subtypes of test achievements
The typology of performance tests is usually carried out for the following reasons.
1. The reference point in the interpretation of test indicators. In this plan, benchmarking tests are being singled out, and performance tests are criterion-oriented.
2. Application of standardization procedures in the preparation and conduct of the test. In this connection, standardized and non-formalized tests of achievements stand out.
Normally-oriented and criterially-oriented tests of achievements
The use of testing in assessing students' learning achievements already in the first stages of their development was manifested in two forms, different in content and research orientation.
In one of these forms, attention is focused on evaluating individual achievements in comparison with the achievements of other members of the training group or statistically determined by the normative group, while fixing the relative status of each individual student.
Another form is the practice of evaluating learning outcomes depending on which part of the curriculum or what structural components of skills are mastered by the student, or, in other words, what is his absolute status.
E. L. Thorndike, one of the first to point out such a dilemma in the evaluation of learning outcomes, noted that the effectiveness of monitoring these results is closely related to the adaptation of the verification procedure that fixes the relative position of the subject in the sample under study to those forms of test control whose results directly correlate with the training information , which is subject to assimilation.
For many decades, tests of achievements were created according to the rules of the classical theory of the test. Test results were reported in such a way that they could be compared with the results of testing the entire correlative group (most often all classes of a particular issue). Such tests are called norm-oriented, because their results are correlated with the norms obtained on the standardization sample.
Normally-oriented tests are created specifically to ensure comparison of the subjects in the area of content for which the test is intended. Normative scales are used for this. The processed scores based on the results of such tests are based on statistical data obtained at a sufficiently large sample size (sample of standardization). This is a specially selected group of subjects, adequately representing the population for which this test is developed. Each individual score for the test has a one-to-one correspondence with the indicator determined on the normative group (test norm).
In order for these tests to fulfill their main task - to differentiate the test subjects, they try to get high variability of test scores during their development. Normally-oriented tests are designed in such a way that the distribution of the results obtained in them is close to normal.
The introduction of educational machines into the educational process of the US schools and the application of individualized programs led to the development of methods, the results of which would allow to establish what exactly and to what extent the student had learned from the proposed curriculum. Indeed, if 90% of students or more reach learning goals, then in this case a deviating from the normal curve arises the accumulation of test results at one end of the scale. With such a distorted distribution, most of the formulas in the classical theory of the test could no longer be applied. Here, you should use the criterion-oriented approach to assess the extent to which the subjects have mastered the tested content.Criterion-oriented (criterion-referenced) test measures what an individual knows or knows how to do compared to what he needs to know or be able to do in order to successfully solve the problem. Evaluation of the test results with respect to the criterion reached means that they are interpreted in accordance with performance standards. In measurements oriented to the criterion, it is necessary to determine:
- achieved or not achieved the educational goal, presented in a specific task;
- what percentage of the tasks the student has decided on;
- to what level of success should be attributed to the student, given his degree of approximation to the learning goal.
Conclusions that are made on the basis of test results are always expressed in terms of specific content, specific and thus open the way for correction (for example, the student correctly names and describes three types of trees, but does not give examples of their value).
Evaluation of learning outcomes based on a statistical norm can be considered objective only insofar as it is always the result of algorithmized statistical processing. Anyone who will give pedagogical recommendations based on the grades obtained by the students, expressed by the same summary indicators, will characterize them in the same way, the difference between them will be only quantitative. However, the strengths and weaknesses of students in mastering knowledge and skills - what the teacher really is interested in - can not be objectively analyzed when applying norm-oriented tests. The results of the criterion-oriented test, on the other hand, contain specific information about what and how the pupils learned from the given teaching material.
To date, most testers acknowledge that there are significant differences between a criterion-oriented and norm-oriented approach. The goals for which tests are made, the specificity of the information they supply in evaluating the results of the performance of learning tasks, the methods of design and processing, all serve as a basis for distinguishing these two types of tests.
However, the theory and practice of research in the field of criterial-oriented approach showed that the differences between the traditional and the new approaches are not opened when the test results are interpreted. Differences are established from the first steps in the design of tests that update this or that approach, and are to a large extent determined by the specific objectives of the diagnostic studies in relation to which an approach is assessed as adequate or inadequate.
A criterion-oriented test is initially designed with a view to a particular learning task, between it and the task, the relations of substantive relevance (relevance) are planned in advance. In relation to the CART, the educational task is not an external criterion, which will be subsequently correlated with the test indicators, but the reality, goals, content, methods of implementation of which the test reveals.
Suppose that students of the 5th grade are given the task of executing a project with respect to trees and writing a report that contains drawings of local trees and their leaves, tree information in terms of their contribution to the environment and quality of life and recommendations on how to help protect trees. For this task, the test compiler determines the criteria for the process of performing and obtaining the final product.
Accordingly, the project will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- the report is done neatly;
- at least three different types of trees are drawn and marked;
- each type of tree is described;
- the value of trees is described;
- describes ways to protect trees.
A similar reference performance model can be used to evaluate the report of each student.
The fact that criterial-oriented testing is the optimal model for diagnosing the results of mastering skills does not mean that this type of testing can be applied exclusively for the purpose of diagnosing narrow areas of educational content. Nevertheless, in the test literature, it has been repeatedly noted and noted that the scope of the criterion-oriented strategy is certainly limited to narrowly specific goals and objectives of training.
When analyzing such criticisms, it should be borne in mind that criterion-based tests can be built on the basis of different conceptions of the criterion. Obtained in the early 1970s. in the United States and other English-speaking countries, criteria-based tests were constructed in accordance with the concept of the criterion as a reference set of subject knowledge and skills. Within this concept, criteria such as level of performance and skill level were used.
The interpretation of the criterion as the level of performance was inherently associated with those ideas of pedagogical psychology, according to which the learning process is understood as a consistent development of each of the elements of educational behavior. The latter are recorded as a repertoire of observable external actions that can be unambiguously measured and appropriately controlled. At the same time, the goals of the educational process are subject to mandatory translation into types of actions open for observation and control.
Achieving the learning goal is usually fixed by the percentage-correct level of performance of CORT tasks. It is empirically established that the level of performance of tests corresponding to the required assimilation should be of the order of 80-100%. As practice has shown, the fixation of this level reflects stable positive results of mastering the material, most students retain interest in the subject at the same time. The reduction of the criterion level to 75% results in a deterioration in the educational results. Criterially-oriented tests, developed taking into account the level of performance, are widely used in programmed learning.
It should be noted that the first such tests appeared in connection with the introduction of training machines in the educational process, and the inconsistency of the statistical norm in establishing the required level of performance was clearly manifested. At the forefront came the need to establish that the student had learned from the assigned scope of the program and to what extent he had progressed in mastering the teaching material in comparison with what he had known before. In the event that the test results did not meet the criterion - the percentage-correct result, the student was recommended to return to those fragments of the training material that required additional elaboration.
Researchers and teachers, using individual programs in the educational process and using criteria for their assimilation, could not help noticing that some students do not reach the required level, since they do not have the necessary set of skills. It was suggested that the skills and their operations, not getting sufficient study in the educational process, either are not formed, or are fixed and integrated into defective systems. In the theory and practice of the CART, an understanding of the criterion as a level of mastery arises, that is, The reference set of all operational components that make up a particular skill. With this characteristic, the teacher or researcher can compare what the student does with what he must be able to do.
The peculiarity of criterion-oriented tests aimed at establishing the level of mastery is that they not only reveal the amount of material learned, but also indicate the student's ability to actively use the knowledge gained in mastering a new, more complex material. As already mentioned, performance-level tests can establish (and this corresponds to their essence) that one or another student is sufficiently prepared to move on to the next stage of training. At the same time, it remains unclear whether the student's knowledge and skills are organized in standard reference structures adapted for specific tasks, and at what level of learning they are. The level of mastery embodies the criterial requirements, which are primarily conditioned by the standards and patterns of mastering that have developed in the theory and methodology of teaching. The latter are fixed in school educational programs as a composition of training skills.
For example, for pedagogical practice, a test was required that would control the extent to which students had an understanding of what they read. This skill can be considered from the point of view of its structural components. Here is an approximate list of them: stating questions to the text read, reformulating difficult places, highlighting the main thoughts, drawing up a plan for the text read. It will not be enough to name only these components. Each of them should be concretized first of all in terms of its external manifestations, i.e. realizing their operations. For example, a component such as the selection of the main thought can be operationally represented as follows:
1) emphasize the sentence expressing the main idea of the passage;
2) select the title for the passage;
3) list the facts supporting the main idea, etc. In such a COTS, each of the selected components should be examined by a separate subtest. The subtest will include tasks in which all the operational forms of the corresponding component are presented. Based on the results of the CORT prepared in this way, it will be possible to draw specific conclusions about which components (and in which operational forms) the reader understands or has not yet mastered the students. This will allow us to judge the reasons for the difficulties and take appropriate corrective measures.
Test results using a criterion such as skill level can be reliably determined provided that a so-called task control list is prepared. It specifies the features or characteristics of the execution process or the final result, which can be observed to confirm the quality of the solution of the test task. For example, in the practice test sample, the "Angle split in half" the following steps are defined:
- the compass is used;
- the end of the compass is placed at the top of the corner, an arc is drawn between the sides;
- the point of the compass is placed on each intersection of the arc and the sides of the angle, equal arcs are drawn;
- a line is drawn from the vertex of the angle to the point of intersection of the arcs;
- when checking with the protractor it is seen that the two obtained angles are equal to each other.
In other words, the progress checklist - is a list of predefined actions that determine the success of the task. Observing how students perform such tasks, the researcher marks all the actions performed by them in accordance with the checklist and uses them as a basis for determining the measure of compliance with the standard of the process of performing the task.
It is known that there is always a close connection between the development of diagnostic tests and the pedagogical theory and practice of instruction for which these tests are designed. All features of the concept of the criterion in the CORT, which were described above, are based on the behaviourist model of learning. Postulated by this model, the separation of educational knowledge and skills from mental development was reflected in critically-oriented testing.
In the United States psycho-pedagogical literature, it has been repeatedly noted that mastering the structural and operational composition of the training task does not exhaust the analysis of the fulfillment of the task. The assimilation of the teaching material presupposes an appropriate level of mental development, in particular the formation of mental actions corresponding to the material. Criterially-oriented tests, in which diagnostic tests are performed by performing mental actions, embody the concept of a criterion such as the logical-psychological preparedness of a student for performing tasks. Such criteria are intended to determine whether the student's intellectual development meets the requirements of the material of educational and educational programs. With this approach, the test results, when compared with the criterion, will provide information on whether mental activities are presented in the student's thinking for the mental assimilation of new sections of the program, can he confidently use them in performing new types of tasks.
There is some experience in developing tests that reflect this concept of the criterion. Unlike tests focused on the level of performance or level of skill, the CORTs considered are tests with psychological content. In their development, methodical techniques are used that reveal ways of orientation in the subject material, each of which is conditioned by the subjective logic of students who master the required mental actions.
Defining as a criterion of mental actions that students should have, and comparing test results with data on the process of fulfilling study assignments allow to establish the causes of difficulties in the implementation of certain mental actions, as well as to reveal the ways students can perform the tasks. Tests with such psychological content acquire new functions that expand the traditional understanding of achievements and methods for their diagnosis.
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