It has become an apparent confusion in the minds of many people regarding the meaning of the terms “test, measurement, and evaluation”.
Thus, when an achievement test is administered, teachers might say they are testing achievement measuring achievement, or evaluating achievement.
Whereas these terms are certainly related, they are not synonymous. Tests have the narrowest meaning of the three terms.
A test is regarded as an instrument systematically meant for measuring a behavior. It involves the presentation of a standard of questions to a person or a group of persons to be answered.
Arising from the answers given or supplied, a measure is obtained, and this measure usually called a score, is quantitative or numerical.
However, testing is just a type of measurement. We can measure characteristics in ways other than by testing. These other ways include using observations, rating scales, and inventories.
So, measurement is a broader term than a test. Its outcome is always expressed in numbers or quantitatively.
Measurement is a process. The process of administering and scoring tests, for example, is measurement.
It tends to answer the question “How much?” Its outcome might be, for example, that Tolu correctly solved seven out of ten statistics problems.
But EVALUATION is broader in its meaning. Evaluation involves both measurement (quantitative descriptions) and non-measurement (qualitative descriptions). It includes value judgment on the worth of the description obtained.
The interpretation of scores is a part of the evaluation. In our example on Tolu, questions such as is his work neat? Is it legible? Is she making progress?
In statistics, how well does he compare with his colleagues in statistics? Is the score 7 out of 10? All these questions are relevant to the evaluation.
Then, evaluation may be defined as a process that allows one to make a value judgment about a measure or the process of providing useful information for judging decision alternatives.
It has been defined by Grounlund (1985) as the systematic process of collection, analyzing, and interpreting information to determine the extent to which pupils are achieving instructional objectives.
Purpose of test
The purpose of tests largely determines both the types of test that is desirable and the properties or characteristics of the test that will be appropriate. The following are how tests are important:
Clarification of course objectives
Every course of study has stated objectives to achieve at the end of the lesson. The objectives are measures of the lesson’s success.
If these objectives are achieved at the end of the lesson, the lesson is successful, but if the objectives are not well achieved, the teacher has to re-explain the concept of the lesson in line with the stated objectives to ascertain the understanding of the lesson.
Therefore, the test provides stimulates a teacher to clarify and refines course objectives.
Test serves as a means of feedback
The test provides a means of feedback to the counselor. The counselor collects information on students’ intellectual abilities, interests, aptitudes, and other distinctive personal characteristics to assist the students to understand themselves through accurate knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses.
The information helps the students to plan their education and career pursuits.
Test provides quality control
Every school wants to affirm the quality of its sweat on the students the particular school is producing. The tool to be used to confirm this is a test.
Without a test, it will be difficult to ascertain the quality of the efforts. Tests provide a mechanism of quality control for a school or school system.
Test serves as a program evaluation
There are programs initiated in schools. Some are academic programs while others are non-academic programs. The only thing to use to measure the programs is to evaluate them.
Evaluation is moderation to understand the activeness of the programs. Tests are useful for program evaluation and help counselors evaluation of the outcomes of guidance and counseling.
Test is useful for research purposes
The test is useful for research purposes. It is the stimulation that propels the researcher to research a particular topic. The test makes us have an in-depth study on a course of study.
It can be used for fashioning out the structure on which a lasting and enduring guidance program can be based.
Test activates classification and placement
Test facilitates better classification and placement decisions. Classification is the process of deciding which group a person should be placed in.
For example, in our secondary schools today, Junior School Certificates. Examination scores are used by the counselors to place students in the four academic areas: Arts, Science, Technical, and Commercial during the first year of senior secondary school.
Similarly, scores obtained from vocational interest, inventories, and aptitude tests help the counselor to place an individual counselee into a vocation or career environment within which he can perform maximally and remain the person he is.
Test increases the quality of selection decision
The test can increase the quality of selection decisions. We may note that the selection decision is concerned with whether a person should be admitted, employed, rejected, etc.
Tests are the primary criteria for identifying gifted or retarded children. For example, if students want to be admitted to a school and the populations are beyond those the school wants, the test will be conducted to select the best candidates and reduce the population.
Also, to get a job, tests, and interviews will be conducted to select the best applicants.
Test serves as a diagnostic tool.
Tests serve as a diagnostic tool. Counselors use tests such as personality tests and CGM Bakare’s tests to diagnose students’ problems such as inability to cope with others or create and sustain relationships with others, fears, poor study habits, etc.
Tests also help identify or isolate factors contributing to such problems. With the identification of problems and their causal factors, counselors then work out modalities or techniques for coping with or resolving the problems.
Test serves as a prediction
Tests can be used to predict future behaviors. For example, test scores provide a reliable basis for predicting academic realities and career possibilities.
Scores in achievement tests are used in helping students choose SSCE subjects they can offer such subjects are those in which students have consistently scored well right from their SS 1 class.
Test is a foundation of certification
The test helps to acquire certificates. Without a test or an examination, there is no certificate. The only way to determine the quality assurance of the students is to pass the tests and examinations by the school.
The students must pass all the tests before the certificates can be awarded to such students.