An exam or test is an educational test meant to assess the knowledge, ability, aptitude, mental capacity, physical ability, or socialization in a specific area. The purpose of any test is to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to determine the comprehension level of a test taker. There are many different types of educational tests available. They may be classroom tests given to school children, or tests given to individuals at various ages, such as potential new employees or job applicants. There are also home-based and Internet based tests available.
Most schools administer periodic assessments throughout the year to make sure that students are meeting standards of learning and that they are on the right path to success. Such examinations are usually standardized, but they can also be custom made to meet the needs of individual schools. Students taking an examination for the first time may not understand the complex questions included, so they may need help from a teacher or advisor to answer the questions in a specific manner. Many students taking an examination will not read the text or know the meaning of the symbols included, so they must rely on their answers or explanation to understand the meaning of the test. Parents of students taking an examination may want to attend the test and provide guidance to their children.
An individual student may choose to take an exam for college credit or for career advancement or job application. In order to determine which type of test is best for him or her, it may be necessary to consult with a testing professional such as a teacher, a counselor, or a licensed testing agent. Some standardized testing programs are administered by state governments and colleges. Others are administered at the local, regional, or national level. Some states are currently examining the nationwide Assessment Program (NAAP) in order to create higher tests that are nationally standardized. Parents of high school students should contact their state’s testing boards to find out which tests their students will be taking in order to qualify for college credit.
Many of the standardized tests are administered in laboratories that resemble medical or educational settings. The testing administrator will explain to the student what the purpose of the test is, the types of questions that will be asked, and the expected outcome. Standardized tests may be administered in school rooms, libraries, homes, and offices. Students should wear comfortable, loose clothing that will allow them to move freely during the test. Test-takers should not sit in a chair that is too close to the examiner or the surrounding area, as this can cause fatigue and discomfort.
When determining the appropriate educational institution to administer a particular test, parents and students should consider factors such as the class size of the school, the number of students in each class, the curriculum, and other factors. In a large school, it may be necessary to have multiple sets of test-takers to ensure that each student has an equal opportunity to succeed. In a highly urban, urbanized school, it may be difficult for some students who have disabilities or limited English as their first language to take the exams. Parents and students should also consider the demographics of the educational institution, such as the ratio of students to teachers, the racial/ethnic mix of the student body, the proportions of students with disabilities and/or limited English as their first language, the number of students with special needs in the class, and the percentages of students taking standardized tests in different subject areas.
In order to determine the appropriate testing format and the appropriate type of tests to be given, parents and students should consult with a variety of professionals. These individuals, such as a counselor, guidance counselor, testing administrator, or a teacher in a specific classroom, should all be able to provide sound advice regarding the types of tests that are appropriate for their child, their specific needs, and the proper form of testing to be done in order to determine the score that is appropriate. Some of these professionals may even have samples of previously administered tests to review in order to ensure the student understands what they will be doing on the actual test day. It is important to discuss any concerns or issues with the professionals involved in the overall assessment so that the best format for the assessment can be chosen.