Does Criterion-Referenced Assessment Produce Productive Students In A Global Economy?

Dynamism in the K-12 education system has created significant changes secondary to learning approaches of students across the country. Methods of teaching have also been modified to keep up with the greater bulk of information that needs to be learned. These may have been different per region or state but have been widely practiced by both instructors and students.

As opposed to traditional education, which focuses more on the available resources to provide educational inputs, outcome-based education has been created to center on measuring student performance based on outcomes generated. This interesting reform in the education system gives emphasis on what students can do and how well they can do rather than what were merely provided to them by teachers and instructional materials. The introduction of such has hoped to set educational standards and ensure effective learning is promoted qualitatively rather than quantitatively.

Assessing acquired learning with outcome-based education is through the criterion referencing technique. This process of evaluating student performance entails translating scores into statements that have predefined interpretations to determine if the desired learning is effectively assimilated. This differs from norm-referenced assessment in that the latter only measures an individual's learning relative to others' standing, which is introduced with traditional education. Unlike comparing individual's scores to another and identifying success or failure based on relative scores, criterion referencing aims to focus on individual evaluation based on performance description across wide ranges of set standards or criteria. It assists students to better perform in a particular subject matter as to be expected before higher learning can be taught. This does not only gauge effectiveness of student learning but provide evaluation and feedback to present and future teaching and learning needs as well. In recent times, this type of evaluation has been utilized widely as it provides for more accountable and fair evaluations as opposed to the norm-referenced assessment.

The sole idea of criterion-referenced assessment is indicative of higher standard learning. Being focused and intensive, such evaluation allows for greater opportunities for students to learn without having to compare learning progress with another, decreasing the feeling of insecurity, inferiority, and/or depression. It does not also undermine one's abilities since the focal point of learning is oneself and all efforts to gain knowledge are directed toward oneself.

Broadly speaking is questioning does criterion-referenced assessment produce productive students in a global economy? Criterion-referenced assessment can indirectly produce productive students in a global economy. This is justified by the claim that such evaluation, in itself, capitalizes on the acquisition of knowledge and skills, thus warranting that basic knowledge and skills on a particular subject matter must be attained as to be expected of a student of the same academic level or biological age before continuing to a higher, more complicated form of learning. It does not conceal students who obtain high test scores but learning nothing in actuality. Although norm-referenced evaluation can also create productive students, it confines one's success by just comparing it to another's performance. By learning history, those who underwent continuous rigorous education and evaluation and have managed to successfully attain learning through diligent training are those capable of better information assimilation to address learning. Ultimately, this develops one's attitudes of self-confidence and self-worth. In the long run, such self-determination pushes one's inner drive to be further challenged on learning new information until it becomes an unconscious effort for a student to continually learn different things. These integral values that developed through proper training and evaluation enable one to excel in every endeavor undertaken and enhance learning process, thus criterion-referenced assessment produce productive students in a global economy.

The introduction of a newer method of evaluation, the criterion-based evaluation, has given both teachers and students the freedom to specialize on the learning process they learn best from and eventually develop highly needed core values; and broadly-speaking, to answer does criterion-referenced assessment produce productive students in a global economy, yes, it surely does.

Educational Literature on Criterion-Referenced Assessment

  1. Assessing the Development of Preschoolers- ERIC Document
  2. Evaluating the Results of Whole-School Reform- ERIC Document
  3. Five Common Misuses of Tests- ERIC Document
  4. More Multiple-Choice Item Writing Do's and Don'ts- ERIC Document
  5. Norm- and Criterion-Referenced Testing- ERIC Document
  6. Open-Ended Questions in Reading- ERIC Document
  7. Questions To Ask When Evaluating Tests- ERIC Document
  8. Talking to Your Child's Teacher about Standardized Tests- ERIC Document