Key Points

Given the effort expended by teachers and others in developing and administering summative assessments and the teaching time used as a result, it is imperative that optimum value is gained from such endeavours. Standardised tests employ highly specific and sometimes technical scores and score interpretation that, if properly understood and acted upon, can yield useful information in relation to student learning. It is important for teachers and other test users to have a clear understanding of what scores mean and how they are to be referenced or interpreted. The chapter explored both norm- and criterion-referenced interpretations and how some assessments may use a mixture of both. Examinations used to certify student achievement, especially at the mid- and end-points of secondary schooling, frequently use alternative grading systems, though these can be categorised as norm and/or criterion-referenced also. Whereas there is relative stability over time in the way student performance on standardised tests is reported, greater evolution of procedures and score systems is evident in the case of public examinations. Different grading approaches are employed from time to time in the same education system and, as evident in the chapter, such approaches also vary from system to system, even in adjacent systems. What is probably most important is that, whatever approach to grading and reporting is used, the grading system, including its advantages and limitations, is clearly understood by those using the data.