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If a standardized test was to ask questions directed at a recipe, that child would have been at a huge disadvantage because most fifth grade students know and have had at least some experience dealing with recipes, but she did not.There is just no way to know for certain that every child being tested has a fair amount of knowledge going into the test.
The testing sample can be as small as a classroom or as broad as the entire country.
Whether to identify struggling students who need help, or gifted children for possible advancement, standardized tests provide benchmarks of average performance so this is possible.
4) Since all students in a school are taking the same test (with respect to grade level) standardized tests provide an accurate comparison across groups.
(For example, this makes it easy to see how boys are performing as compared to girls in a particular school or district.) Over the years great improvements have been made with regards to test bias, which has led to more accurate assessments and comparisons.
4) As much as test creators try to do away with testing bias, it may be impossible to rid tests of it altogether.
I once tutored a 5 grader who did not know what a recipe was.
When students take the same type of test yearly (adjusted for grade level) it is easy to see if a student is improving, losing ground academically, or staying about the same.
(For example, if a child is taking a norm-referenced test and scores in the 75th percentile in the sixth grade and the 80th percentile in the seventh grade, you can see that the child is gaining ground in school.) This helps determine how a child is doing academically.
All test takers answer the same questions and are scored the same way.
This makes it possible to compare individual students based on their performance.