Achievement tests help measure a person's accomplishments and mastery of skills. They are often used to determine grade promotions and college entry level. Aptitude tests examine a person's strengths and weaknesses, as well as special abilities. They are often used by school counselors to provide career guidance.

Advantages of Achievement Tests

Achievement tests measure what students already know. Letter or number grades are earned through achievement tests. School administrators and government agencies use these outcomes for accountability and information purposes. Performance scores from these tests also help determine student promotions and certificate achievements. There are two categories of achievement tests: summative evaluations and formative evaluations.

Summative and Formative Evaluations

Summative evaluations are taken at the end of each instructional unit and are considered high-stakes tests because of their high point values. Examples of summative evaluations are midterm exams or final projects. Formative evaluations are viewed as low-stakes tests because of their low point values. These tests help educators target the skills that students have yet to master. Quizzes and end-of-the-chapter exercises are the most common types of formative evaluations.

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Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests help determine a person's abilities or inabilities. Some aptitude tests measure abstract reasoning skills while others measure verbal skills. Aptitude tests are not limited to schools. Employers often use aptitude tests as part of their hiring processes. Examples of these tests include typing tests and computer skills tests. Aptitude tests are often grouped into two categories: fluid intelligence tests and crystallized intelligence tests.

Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence Tests

Fluid intelligence tests help determine a person's problem-solving or decision-making skills. They often have time limits to detect a person's ability to use new information strategically. Examples of fluid intelligence tests are abstract or conceptual tests in which test takers are given real-life scenarios. Crystallized intelligence represents a person's lifetime accumulation of knowledge and skills. Crystallized intelligence tests measure an individual's mastery of skills developed from infancy on.

About the Author

Based in Southern California, Dorothy Kropf has been writing about education for ezines since 2000. She is currently a Ph.D. student of education with a specialization in educational technology at Walden University. She enjoys research and writing with strong interests in determining factors that can help college students succeed.