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Norm-referenced testing is standardized testing from which data will be obtained to compare how students did from one population to another. It is the type of testing that is often used to create a "curve" so that the grading is done according to a pre-determined amount of students. The academic and social roles of NRTs consist on offering quantitative data that helps school officials, administrators, and policy makers to determine the performance of one sector of students against another. This way decisions can be made in terms of curriculum changes and strategic intervention. Another important point about NRTs is that they are often the type of testing done for psychometric purposes.
Criterion-referenced testing is conducted by creating standardized tests which contain questions of specific skills. Therefore, the data that will be obtained from this type of standardized testing will be used to determine how the students performed in those specific skills which the test addressed. The role of CRT's is to see if specific strategies and interventions are actually helping students at certain skills. They can also be used as pre and post test assessments that show skills-based student growth. CRTs are often the types of tests administered in High Schools across America in the form of SATs, IOWAs, and CRCTs.
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