Assessment, standards-referencing and standard setting
This chapter describes a model for giving meaning to student performance by referencing it to standards. This effectively shifts the focus in assessment from notions of rank ordering students (comparing their performance purely to each other) to those of monitoring growth or progress and measurement. More specifically, it introduces standards-referenced assessment: the concept and theory. Central to the initial implementation of standards-referenced assessment is the development and use of standards. Consequently, this chapter has as its main focus standards: how they are defined, how they are set, how they can be used to summarise student performance, how they can be used to report student performance, and how they can be used to improve classroom test setting and examination construction of teachers and examiners. While the attention is directed towards standards use at the system level and their application to assessment of learning, the methods and procedures that are developed are generalisable to the classroom and school and are also applicable to using assessment for improving learning.