often asked questions about tests and the differences between various tests. A
variety of tests are available within the general community. Each has a
specific purpose and each provides a different means of assessment. Below is an
attempt to look at and explain the different type of tests and their use.
General Aptitude Tests
include employment tests undertaken by specialist firms, scholarship entrance
tests and the SAT test. These forms of testing are very popular with employers
as they enable them to screen the vast numbers of applications for particular
jobs, e.g., apprenticeships. Universities have also accepted them for a similar
reason but are becoming more wary of them since they often find that the test
does not really reflect the student's knowledge.
are undertaken for employment applicants are informed that there are no right
or wrong answers. What is being screened is the likely ability of the applicant
to succeed in the course or job. They do not screen knowledge although some
questions may appear to. High scores simply mean that the person is suited to a
specific area. These tests do not guarantee that the applicant
has the necessary pre-requisites. The test simply allows entry to a course
children should work through various general aptitude tests over a period of
years such as the Learn to Think 1 &
2, I Q Examples 1 & 2, or General Aptitude Tests for Selective &
Independent Scholarship Exams. Practise means
that this type of test becomes familiar. They also provide parents with a guide
to the way their child thinks which can be helpful in choosing curriculum.
While practise gives a child an advantage they should
not be studied for or else the test becomes meaningless.
include the Californian Achievement Tests, HSC, VCE etc. These tests should be
written to a specific standard and should provide a measurement of this
standard. They generally test a year's work. Unfortunately, over the last
twenty years, the standard of schooling has dropped and so many of these tests
are now adjusted against a mean or average mark. When this happens the test is
no longer a true indication of ability but instead indicates how well the child
scored compared to others who sat the test. The marks therefore have no real
meaning. Some of these types of tests refer to the �mean average score� or
�tertiary entrance rank�, (the position the student is parked
in the queue for university entrance.)
are aware of this problem. On 11th June 1999, the Age newspaper
reported that employers in Victoria
had called for a review of the VCE, the scrapping of the tertiary entrance
rank, a set minimum entry standards for the VCE and double, external VCE exams.
The Victorian Chamber of Commerce proposed minimum literacy and numeracy standards be attained
before students were promoted to year 11. They also expressed concern at the
burgeoning vocational studies in schools which they considered to be
second-rate because they were under-resourced compared with TAFE Colleges. In
other words, as we have stated before, employers prefer TAFE courses because
they are familiar with the standard.
either Language & Maths or the Test
Your Child series as Achievement tests. Having the child score 80% or more
before proceeding to the next grade provides the parent with a reliable measure
of the child�s ability. The parent can correct any small areas that may have
been overlooked and the child is not placed in a position where they are likely
to fail. Similarly we test in english
and maths in grade ten.
material contains tests which assess whether or not the student mastered the
skills contained in the book. These can be useful tools in aiding the parent to
assess whether the student correctly studied the material. They are however
limited. They do not provide an independent, general test of the years work and
so will not show parents if skills, other than those contained in the material,
have been missed. Generally these tests are based on each individual book.
books contain tests and other means of assessment can be used. We use several
methods. In secondary school, when using�
history books we ask our children to take notes as then read through the
chapter. Once the chapter has been completed and the child has had time to
revise and learn the material we set an essay type question or a series of
questions requiring answers, about a paragraph in length. The notes, which the
child has previously taken, make the essay easy to set and mark. Children also
acquire experience that they will need should they continue on to higher
We use a
different method when assessing literature. We ask the child to write a summary
of each chapter once they have finished reading it. At the end of the book we
may also agree on a topic for an essay. Since the child has written what
amounts to an over-view of the book the parent need only read these to mark the
essay. Again, valuable life skills are learnt.