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Glossary of Frequently Used Terms

Achievement Test A standarized test that measures how much students have learned in a given context.
Aptitude Test Test designed to measure general abilities and to predict future performance.
Benchmark Level of performance expected in a given subject and at a given grade. A benchmark is usually a set measurement point used to assess whether students are progressing toward a specific goal.
Bias A lack of objectivity, fairness, or impartiality. Standardized tests are supposed to be free from bias.
A comparison of student performance to a predetermined cut score that will determine whether a student understands a particular concept or has a particular skill. For example, students who score at the criterion level of 90% correct on a test of two-digit by three-digit multiplication might be determined to have mastered that skill.
Disaggregated data Information that has been sorted by special populations (e.g., ethnicity, socio-economic status, language proficiency, or other factors).
Formative assessment Ongoing, diagnostic assessment providing information to guide instruction and improve student performance.
Multiple measures Using more than one measurement tool to determine individual student performance for reading/language arts and mathematics in at least one grade level for each grade span
(3-5, 6-9, and 10-12).
Norm-referenced test Test whose items have been given to a large, representative sample of students. It rates student performance against the performance of other students. Performance is usually reported as a percentile score.
Performance test Test that requires the student to perform a task rather than choose a correct response. For example, a student might be asked to develop a monthly school lunch menu to demonstrate his or her understanding of nutrition requirements.
Portfolio Purposeful or systematic collection of selected student work and student self-assessments developed over time, gathered to demonstrate and evaluate progress and achievement in learning.
Quartiles Distribution of scores into four equal parts corresponding to the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile ranks.
Standardized test Test that is usually prepared commercially for nationwide use to provide accurate and meaningful information on students. Level of performance relative to others at their age or grade level (e.g. Scholastic Achievement Test)
STAR (Standarized Testing and Reporting Program), the statewide assessment program testing all California students in grades 2-11
Summative assessment Culminating assessment for a unit, grade level, or course of study providing a status report on mastery or degree of proficiency according to identified content standards.

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