Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The ABCs of Standardized Tests

With so many standardized tests and acronyms to remember, sometimes it can be difficult to keep up.  We've created this handy reference guide just in case you need a little help! For additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact IST.

ACT (originally "American College Testing," but now is simply known as "ACT"):
Category: College Admission
Summary:  Typically grades 11-12.  Subject-based exam designed to test student's knowledge of content in English, mathematics, reading and science.  Learn more here.

CTP 4/ERBs ("Comprehensive Test Program"; often referred to as "ERBs" after the company that produces it, the "Educational Records Bureau"):
Category:  Achievement
Summary:  Grades 1-10.  Battery of assessments designed to provide instructionally useful information about student performance in reading, listening, vocabulary, writing, mathematics, and verbal and quantitative reasoning.  Learn more here.

ECAA ("Early Childhood Admissions Assessment"):
Category:  Private School Admission
Summary:  Grades PreK-5.  Designed to assess student's current level of development, but not intended to predict long range success.  Learn more here.

HSPT ("High School Placement Test"):
Category:  Catholic School Admission
Summary:  Grade 8.  Designed to test cognitive and basic skills in the following areas: verbal and quantitative reasoning, reading, mathematics and language.  Learn more here.

HSAs ("High School Assessments"):
Category:  Achievement
Summary:  Grades 9-12.  Content-based exams in Algebra, biology, English, government that all Maryland public high school students must take as part of a graduation testing requirement. Learn more here.

ISEE ("Independent School Entrance Exam"):
Category:  Private School Admission
Summary:  Grades 5-12.  Administered at three levels: lower, middle and upper.  Designed to test verbal and quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension and math achievement; also includes a short essay, which is not scored.  Learn more here.

MSA ("Maryland School Assessments")
Category:  Achievement
Summary:  Grades 3-8.  Yearly exam given to all students in Maryland public schools that tests math and reading achievement under the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.  Learn more here.

PSAT/NMSQT ("Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test"):
Category: Pre-College Admissions/Merit Scholarship Competition
Summary:  Typically grades 9-11.  Practice SAT (see below) designed to measure skills in math, critical reading and writing and determine student's (11th grade only) eligibility for certain merit-based scholarships.  Learn more here.

SAT (originally "Scholastic Aptitude Test" and later "SAT I: Reasoning Test," but is now simply known as "SAT")
Category: College Admission
Summary: Typically grades 11-12.  Reasoning test designed to measure skills in math, critical reading and writing.  Learn more here.

SAT 10 ("Stanford Achievement Test")
Category:  Achievement
Summary:  Grades K-12.  A series of battery tests designed to measure achievement in math, reading, language, science and social studies, in comparison with other students the same grade who took the test at a comparable time.  Learn more here.

SSAT ("Secondary School Admission Test"):
Category:  Private School Admission
Summary:  Grades 5-11.  Administered in lower and upper levels.  Designed to test verbal, quantitative, math and reading comprehension skills; also includes a short essay, which is not scored.  Learn more here.

WISC IV (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children)
Category:  IQ/Ability
Summary:  Ages 6-16 and 11 months.  Clinical instrument designed to test the cognitive ability of children.  Ten required subtests in verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed.  Learn more here.

*See also: "Standardized Tests: What shoud you know before your child sharpens his #2 pencil"

*See:  Testing Our Schools: A Guide for Parents"

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