A test is an educational examination meant to objectively measure the knowledge, skill, ability, aptitude, mental aptitude, logical reasoning, or other category in a specific topic. It can be voluntary or compulsory. A school often sets up a series of tests as part of a test design process for a wide range of purposes, usually to determine whether or not a student is progressing towards a specific goal like graduation. The duration of a test may last from just a few minutes to up to 2 hours. Most schools conduct a series of such tests during the year.
The various types of tests available are either essay-based or formative. Formative assessments typically require a student to complete a written questionnaire or a series of tasks. Some of these questions are multiple-choice and some can be simple yes / no questions. In essay-based tests, a student provides answers to academic questions which are evaluated using certain standard criterion. Students are usually asked to present an argument in support of their answer, and if they are unsatisfied with the results, they can revise their answer.
Indicative tests are administered by state education departments or by the Department of Education. Examples of indicative tests are the mathematics placement tests, English language skills, and standardized test assessments. The format of the tests varies from state to state and depend upon the age and level of the students. The procedures used for administering these tests vary from one state to another.
An alternative method of assessment is the Use of Outcomes Markers (USMs), which is sometimes also referred to as achievement tests. USMs differ from standard tests in that they use both quantitative and qualitative information in formulating the grades for students. USMs are used in preschool, middle school, and high school, and are administered once per year. Some states have the option of marking the test with a sticker that corresponds to a certain scores range, thereby allowing educators to get an early indication of what students are likely to do on the test.
Fitness tests are one type of evaluation that is often required for licensure or certification. Examples of fitness tests are psychological tests, such as personality tests, memory tests, and mathematics tests. Psychological tests are primarily designed to detect specific personality traits and behaviors. Examples include the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) or the Myers Gilbert Mental Inventory (MGI). Memory and mathematics tests are designed to assess academic, athletic, and technological skills and knowledge. Sports and intelligence tests are also common in fitness assessment.
In some cases, State licensing boards require prospective employees or students taking a standardized test to take a practical or written exam in place of the standardized test. Licensing boards determine which exams to administer based on criteria provided by the State. For most standardized tests, the examination can be taken at any participating high school, whether the student is enrolled or not. Students taking an exam must schedule and attend the testing site as designated by the testing site, in order to pass.