Purpose of Standardized Tests

Our goal at ETS and the purpose of standardized tests are the same — to provide fair, valid and reliable assessments that produce meaningful results. Standardized testing, if done carefully and with a high degree of quality assurance, can eliminate bias and prevent unfair advantages by testing the same or similar information under the same testing conditions.

Standardized tests allow the comparison of test takers from different areas of the state, the country and the world. What a test can do depends on whether it is well-designed for a particular purpose. Well-designed tests can provide results that can be used in a variety of meaningful ways, such as:

Purpose Tests results can be used to:
Licensure or Certification Verify whether someone has the necessary knowledge and skills to be a qualified practitioner or to be given advanced standing in an occupation or profession
Admissions Inform decisions about which people should be selected for entrance to an educational institution
Placement Determine which courses or level of a course a student should take
Employment Inform decisions on the hiring, placement and promotion of potential and current employees
Curriculum-based End-of-Course Testing Determine whether students have mastered the objectives of the course taken
Exit Testing Find out whether students have learned the amount necessary to graduate from a level of education
Policy Tools Provide data to policymakers that helps them make decisions regarding funding, class size, curriculum adjustments, teacher development and more
Course Credit Indicate whether a student should receive credit for a course he or she didn’t take through demonstration of course content knowledge
Accountability Hold various levels of the education system responsible for test results that indicate if students learn what they should have learned