Evaluation and Test

Evaluation and Test

Evaluation and Test

What is evaluation?

Evaluation is the systematic process of documenting and using empirical information about knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. When conducting the evaluation, teachers try to improve student learning. This is a short definition of evaluation. 

What is a test?

Almost everyone has experienced a test in their life. Grammar tests, driver’s license test, etc. A test is used to examine someone’s knowledge about something to determine what the person knows or has learned. Measure the level of skill or knowledge that has been achieved. It is an evaluation device or procedure in which a sample of the examinee’s behavior is obtained in a specified domain and is subsequently evaluated and scored using a standardized process (Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests, 1999)

The differences between tests and evaluations

Evaluation and testing are two different things, although it is possible to hear that both terms are used interchangeably in a classroom. Understanding the differences allows teachers to take full advantage of both. Evaluation and testing not only allows teachers to see what students are doing well, but also allows them to see how they work in different ways.

When they are done

Typically tests are done at the end of a unit, at the end of a semester or at the end of a year. Annual and semi-annual exams are held in public schools to ensure that all students across the country are learning the same information at the same pace. Evaluations, on the other hand, can be done at any time. Teachers do assessments after a lesson, after teaching a specific skill or at the same time as the tests.

They are necessary?

In many places, tests are required by laws so that no child is delayed in their learning. Even in schools that do not fall within those guidelines, such as home schools, tests are still required to prove to a state that a student knows a certain level of information. Evaluations are not usually required by law or by a school. The evaluations are used informally by teachers to be able to keep track of what students understand and in what areas and topics require more attention.

Different formats

Evaluations and tests have different formats. The tests usually follow a general format, where questions are asked and students respond. They can be development questions, multiple-choice questions, blank questions or true and false questions, but the general format is the same. Evaluations can have different formats. A student may be required to answer the questions. Or, an evaluation could be orally between the teacher and the student about what they know. Another evaluation could be the observation of a teacher towards a student while working or speaking on a subject. Evaluations can also be qualified assignments, presentations or class assignments that help a teacher get an idea of ​​what a student knows and does not know.

Show different results

The assessments and tests also show different results. The tests can show the student’s ability to memorize facts and figures, rather than a true understanding of the facts and figures. However, an assessment conducted informally in the classroom could show that a student really understands the facts and figures, or a specific process. It often happens that students do not get good results on formal tests even when they understand what they are testing, but this could be due to pre-exam anxiety. A good teacher will use both assessments and tests to know if a student has failed a test, because he becomes very nervous before the tests or if he has failed because he really does not understand the material.

What are performance and aptitude tests used for?

Performance and proficiency tests are used as assessment methods for students. These two tests have different final goals. Proficiency and performance help educators manage school progress. The results can help teachers and school administrators assess content areas that do not meet standards as well as measure student skills, and help young people both in school and in job search.

Aptitude tests

An aptitude test determines a student’s knowledge about a specific topic through an evaluation. These tests are traditionally used to measure a student’s academic knowledge in English, Mathematics, Literature and Reading. Often, the score is determined by an external source.

Test of performance

Performance tests measure the student’s understanding of specific skills and the content learned in a course. The results of these can be used for students to get help when they need additional reinforcement to understand the course content. Performance tests produced by a teacher can be adapted to the classroom.


The aptitude and performance tests measure the knowledge of an individual in different areas or disciplines. Test results are often used for college, postgraduate programs or military academies. Some people may have to take these tests to access a job.


One of the main areas of criticism for student tests is that school funding is often based on scoring results. Some teachers attempt to teach the test material to help students achieve good results, but this approach limits students’ understanding of the subjects in a broader context and calls into question the accuracy of the results.


Performance and proficiency tests are usually developed by teachers, but they can also be created by external sources, such as the Department of Education, to assist in the evaluation of students and their knowledge. Both tests do not normally have formal guidelines, but have a specific structure and format. Today, those who develop them often use computers.


Performance tests or evaluations are often administered in the classroom and are performed regularly to measure student understanding and application of content. Short tests and exams, as well as practical assessments for the SAT, are examples of performance tests.

Proficiency tests are usually administered outside the classroom or involve a formal evaluation method, such as Praxis, ACTs and SATs. These can be administered nationwide at a local laboratory or school after school or on weekends.

Advantages and disadvantages of evaluation types

The evaluation characteristics presented by the test type  favor that students have a good ability to study specific facts and identify subtle differences between them. But on the other hand, they cause students to acquire highly automated study habits . To counteract this effect, you must complement the teaching with other types of evaluation.

Regarding the characteristics of the t- type evaluation, it should be noted that they allow a quick correction , that the mood is not reflected in the test result and that the results of all students can be compared , since they have all been examined in The same way.

In the development tests the subjectivity of the teacher is more present when it comes to correcting , so in this aspect they would be less objective. However, they allow evaluating factors outside the content such as presentation, style or vocabulary, which must have some feedback throughout academic training in order to train good professionals.

As for the preparation and execution of the tests , these differ depending on whether it is a test or development test , since different types of memory and depth of knowledge settlement are involved.

  • The development exams are based on the evocation memory , in which we reproduce the contents previously studied, making an effort to structure or organize such information.
  • On the other hand, in the test-type tests we use the recognition memory , which consists in relating the content evoked in the statement with the information previously learned. That is, the associative mechanism intervenes, automatically and unconsciously the memory is located in time and space.

In conclusion, it could be stated that when carrying out one type of evaluation or another , it is necessary to take into account what you want to evaluate or measure , since both the test type and the development have different characteristics (neither better nor worse) that affect notably to the evaluation of contents.

Therefore, we conclude that the best way to evaluate a teaching-learning process in a continuum would be a good integration of both types of evaluations . One aspect to be noted for future research would be the interrelation of these two types of evaluations with the oral type.

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