What is an Achievement Test?

An achievement test is what it says on the tin: a test that measures a pupil's achievement and progression in a specific subject or topic over a set period of time. Normally, the results of these tests will be used to administer a grade for each pupil, and either ascend them onto the next level of education if they are seen as ready for this, or offer them extra support if they appear to be consistently underperforming. We go on to explore more about the purposes of tests to gauge achievement and how they are used.

Although they are most commonly applied to measure student progression and ability, achievement tests can also be used to see if an individual qualifies for a particular award or qualification. In this type of circumstance, they are often used by an employer to see if an employee is fit for a job or promotion in the business hierarchy.

Alternatively and as said above, the most popular purpose of an achievement test is to check up on a student's ability in order to provide them with the most fitting degree of support in terms of their education in a particular subject area.

The test should cover all concepts within the topic being examined, so that examiners or teachers who mark the papers can see clearly the areas where students are struggling. A grade may be given to show how much of an expert the pupil is in that region of knowledge, and those who fail are usually offered additional guidance.

The type of help offered to students who appear to be encountering serious problems with their learning ranges from person to person. Typically, they will be placed in a group of students who possess similar abilities in the subject area that is creating the difficulty, which allows them to progress at a reasonable rate and avoid confidence knocks from feeling like they are being left behind.

In less serious cases, the results obtained from an achievement test may display a need for remedial classes to catch up - particularly if the poor performance stems from a lack of effort and/or concentration in terms of class work and revision.

Those who have done well, on the other hand, are presented with the chance to ascend to the next stage of their education. This may involve moving onto a harder, more challenging course, or else taking a harder exam that grants access to more highly-regarded grades.

The current 'No Child Left Behind' government-demanded initiative emphasizes the need for achievement testing on a regular basis. Standardized exam papers are deemed essential to check the progression of whole schools and states, rather than just individual pupils. The aim of the scheme is to improve the success of educational institutions across the US, and to achieve this, annual improvements need to be evident from exam results.

The incorporation of this kind of examination into assessment packages over many subjects is seen as the key to notable improvements in educational standards. Hopefully, it should benefit US students in reaching their full potentials, but only time will tell us whether this is a reasonable ambition.