I.Q. tests and standardized achievement tests are commonly used to evaluate students. I.Q. tests are often used to assess aptitude and potential; standardized achievement tests assess subject matter mastery.
I.Q. tests assess potential and general intelligence. Young children can be tested with the WPPSI, and kindergarten and older children can be individually tested with the WISC. Children who top out on subtests on the WISC are sometimes tested with the old form of the Stanford Binet.
For more information about differences and types of I.Q. tests, see the articles at the Davidson Institute website.
Generally, individual I.Q. tests are administered by private psychologists or authorized school personnel. A pediatrician, local public school or a school for gifted children can refer parents to a licensed psychologist who tests. Parent organizations also provide resources. For example, Lyceum in Santa Clara County, California, is a parent-run organization providing classes and resources for gifted children. This group provides a list of psychologists who provide I.Q. testing.
Some schools choose a nonverbal, spatial reasoning test and do not test verbal skills. Sometimes children are tested in group settings and not individually.
Standardized Achievement Tests
Standardized achievement tests, such as the ERB, assess knowledge and skills commonly expected at grade level.
Publishers of standardized achievement tests give the test to an extremely large sample of students before they make the test available to the public. The publisher plots the raw test scores of each student in the sample group on to a bell curve and assigns each raw score a percentile ranking. When the test becomes available to the public, new test takers' raw scores correspond to the percentile ranking of the sample group.
Besides the nationally normed group, student scores are given as a percentile ranking in relation to a other groups that were previously normed, such as the suburban norm, parochial school norm and the independent school norm.
Students with very high results on standardized tests are invited to take out-of-grade level tests that are part of a national talent search. If students qualify, they are invited to special programs.
Since NCLB (No Child Left Behind), all states have participated in end-of-the-year academic testing.
Some tests do not provide a percentile ranking; instead, scores indicate whether students have mastered grade level content.
In California, standardized achievement tests are part of the statewide STAR testing system. The end of the year academic tests are called California Standards Tests. These align to California grade level Content Standards.
The public can view sample test questions on the California Department of Education website and see what percentage correct a student needs to be proficient. Parents can also see how well students at their children’s school performed on end of the year testing. This information is available by grade level and by demographic characteristics.
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