A mother and I had a little chat today about how a test was standardised. She was concerned to know just how an organisation like NFER went about constructing a standardised test. After all, the tests that are commercially available to parents are not standardised.
Let us take the scenario of a Local Authority wanting to have a new verbal reasoning test to investigate the ability of the children within the borough. (This could be for selection purposes!) An authority like NFER is approached. NFER stands for National Foundation of Educational Research.
The test is written and a draft test is produced.
The draft test is then tested in schools. The length of the test would need to be about the same length as the test used in the final version. When the results come in, NFER would then be able to see how well children coped with the layout of the pages. A `final’ test is then developed.
The test is standardised. Table are drawn up which allow the test results to be compared with other tests within the same family.
There has been a rigorous and exacting examination of the questions within the test and the final scores. The results are either hands scored or machine marked. The results are fed into age-standardisation tables. It is these tables that are used for the Eleven Plus tests.
Try to help your children to understand where the test came from – and why the test was developed.