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What is the Criterion-referenced Test?

A criterion-referenced test is an assessment and test that measures student’s performance. Also, these measures the performance of the students alongside fixed criteria. These criteria’s include written and brief reports of what students are capable of doing at different stages.

In other words, the Criterion reference test is a set of fixed criteria. That used to measure student’s performance. Also, these assess the student’s performance.

Meaning of Criterion-referenced Test

Criterion reference test is a method which uses test score to judge students. Also, they help to generate statements about students’ behavior. Also, they use test scores as their reference. Criterion reference mostly uses quizzes. The main objective of this is to check whether students have learned the topic or not.

These generally have multiple-choice, true-false, and open-ended questions. They play an important role to take a decision about student’s performance.

What are Norm-referenced tests?

These test measure student’s performance in comparison to other students. Also, the age and question paper is same for both of them. They measure whether the students have performed better or worse than other test takers. It is the theoretical average determined by comparing scores.

Example of Criterion Referenced Test

Characteristics of the Criterion Reference Test

  • Authority
  • Consistency
  • Practically
  • Subject Mastery
  • Managed Locally

1. Authority

It actually assesses whether they measure what it claims or not. An individual item matches with its goal. Also, if the situations and performance specified in the aim signify in the item or not.

2. Consistency

It means that if it always measures what it states. Also, consistency means if they have a high degree of confidence in the scores or not. Any random error in the tool can make it unreliable.

3. Practicality

Not all assessment is reliable because of cost and time. It is not always possible to design reliable and accurate tests. Also, the decision should considerably relate to important factors.

4. Subject Mastery

This help in the pathway the performance of students within the course of study. Also, test items can be made to match precise purposes. Criterion reference test also judges how well the student knows and understand the topic.

5. Managed Locally

Generally, these develope at the classroom level. Also, the teacher can easily check if the standards are met or not. Besides, they also identify shortages. Results of tests are quickly obtained to give students helpful feedback on performance.

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Difference between Norm and Criterion-referenced Test

Basis Criterion-Referenced Test Norm-Referenced Test
Performance Each student is independently assessed. Judged on the basis of other student’s performance.
Comparison It does not compare a student’s performance with other students. It compares a student’s performance with other students.
Objective Its main objective is to help students learn without getting questioned about grades. Its main objective is to assess a student’s performance with other students.
Criteria They have fixed criteria for assessment. Their criteria changes with outcomes.
Results Results can be derived quickly. Takes little time to derive results.
Examples Clinical skill competency tools. Class examination.


After going through the characteristics and difference between norm and criterion-referenced test we can conclude the following things. First of all, both are suitable for different tasks. Secondly, both have their own criteria of judgment. And lastly, they follow different norms and values.

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