Research and Theory 2


Justen V. Seay

E6510, Measurement and Assessment in Education

Jaclyn Gerstein, Instructor






            Because of the constantly shifting nature of assessments, an alignment on certain definitions is necessary to ensure a consistency within the educational community.  A lack of consistency would cause results to me measured incorrectly and the reliability and validity of certain assessments may be taken into question.  The first of these terms is a criterion-referenced test. Miller, Linn and Grounlund (2009) identify a criterion reference test as one that “describes student performance according to a specified domain of clearly fined learning tasks.”  Criterion reference tests are usually teacher created. (2010) confirms this definition and states that they are, “intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills.”

            The second of the terms that must be aligned is demographic.    Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (2011) states that a demographic is” the statistical characteristics of human populations (as age or income) used especially to identify markets.” (2011) defines demographics as “A statistical view of a population, generally including age, gender, income, schooling, and occupation.”  These two definitions are similar in nature, but I particular agree with the use of the “view” because it tells us the demographics give us insight into a particular group of people.

            A raw score, according to Miller, Linn and Grounlund (2009) is “the number of points received on a test when the test has been scored according to the directions.”  Merriam-Webster defines raw score as “an individual's actual achievement score (as on a test) before being adjusted for relative position in the test group.”  Though these definitions are similar, Merriam-Webster gives us insight that a raw score is usually adjusted to demonstrate a person’s ranking or position within a group.

            A standard score is “an individual test score expressed as the deviation from the mean score of the group in units of standard deviation.”  (Merriam-Webster, 2011)  Fraenkel & Wallen describe a standard score as “a derived score that expresses how far a given raw score is from the mean, in terms of standard deviation units.”  Standard scores give us a measurement of where students relate to each other.

            Percentile rank is “an index of relative position indicating the percentage scores that fall at or below a given score.” (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006)   The Educational Testing Service which administers the Graduate Record Examination, along with several other education related tests, defines percentile rank as “the percent of examinees in a group or subgroup who obtained scores on a particular test lower than a specified score.”  Their definition is much more specific and descriptive of this statistical term.

            Grade equivalent is a numerical value which gives an indication of a student’s approximate academic level.  For instance, a 2.9 grade equivalent would indicate that a student is working at a 2nd grade ninth month grade level.  Fraenkel & Wallen state that a grade equivalent score “indicates the grade level for which a particular performance is typical.” (2011), identifies it as “a comparison of grade levels nationally.”



Criterion- and standards- referenced tests. (2011). Retrieved from (2011). Student profile report. Retrieved from students.

ETS. (2010). Interpreting gre scores. Retrieved from gre_interpreting_scores.pdf.

Fraenkel, J, & Wallen, N. (2006). How to design and evaluate research in education. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Miller, David M., Linn, Robert L., & Gronlund, Norman E. (2009).  Measurement and assessment in teaching, (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., Initials. (2011). Demographics. Retrieved from encyclopedia/term/82226.html.