Standardized assessments in any subject are essential for the personal evaluation of a student currently involved in any level of education. With the progress in educational research and development, the popularity of standardized assessments has increased manifold. This fact is especially true for mathematics.
Students, their parents, and teachers emphasize standardized math assessments to ensure learners acquire fluency in mathematics. The skills they learn from these tests help them achieve smoother admission to higher levels of education like college or university. If you are wondering which standardized math tests you should go for, this article is for you. Read on to explore more!
What are standardized math assessments?
Before we list the assessments, let us shed some light on what these assessments really are. These assessments evaluate the math skills of students who wish to enter college. The college admission officers consider the result of standardized math assessments a student acquires and decide whether they are eligible for their chosen college course. Remember, it does not matter what grades you got in high school or course contents you completed earlier. The marks you get in these particular math assessments are all that matter.
So, which are the standardized math assessments you should consider? In the following sections, let’s explore that.
Standardized math assessments to evaluate crucial math skills
Among many assessments functional within the US, we have ten of them listed here.
1. Common Core State Testing
This assessment is one of those meant for students in K-12 classes. In this standardized math assessment, students have to learn lesser numbers of math concepts but learn whatever there is in the syllabus thoroughly in-depth. One unique and important feature of this assessment is that it includes what the student learned in the previous class. For example, if you appear in the assessment for 12th grade, there will be math questions covering the syllabus of 11th grade also.
This math assessment is important for students because it emphasizes understanding the concepts. Suppose you solve a problem correctly, covering every step as given to you in the math assessment paper. But, in this standardized test, that will not be enough. You have to show your understanding of the concept and indicate why your answer is the correct one and how you arrived at the answer.
McGraw-Hill has designed this standardized math assessment for K-12 students. This particular assessment subjects the students to the reliability of resources, extensive research, and technical quality. The questions cover the areas of number relations, number estimation, mathematical computation, data analysis, geometry, statistics, operation concepts, etc. Those wishing to appear in this standardized math assessment must practice probability, patterns, algebra, and functions well. Problem Solving and Reasoning are also covered in this assessment.
The importance of this assessment is it does not measure the basic or applied skills only. Instead, the focus is on higher-order thinking skills also. The scores the students achieve are norm-referenced.
3. Stanford Achievement Test
Popularly known as SAT 10, this math assessment is used extensively across the globe to assess the mathematical and problem-solving skills of K-12 students. Pearsons produce this assessment. The assessment design includes a wide range of topics in mathematics. Students subjected to this assessment will face questions on number patterns, number sense, geometric measurements, algebraic problems, etc. There are questions to check the student’s basic measurement skills and statistical knowledge. There can be questions from probability also. However, that will depend on the student’s current grade or the class in which a student seeks admission.
Students assessed through the Stanford Achievement Test attend questions covering the first half of the coming academic year and the last half of the previous academic year. Thus, this assessment provides scope for better growth monitoring by not binding the syllabus within one academic year.
4. New York Performance Standards Consortium Test
In the list of standardized math assessments, this assessment calls for extra attention, for it is different from others. There are no regular multiple-choice questions in this assessment. Instead, the assessment is all about applied math problems. To be eligible to take the assessment, the students must complete problem-solving at higher levels. They are often given real-life situations where they have to implement quick decisions and decide which mathematical approach will help them solve the problem at hand. The mathematical skills, numerical knowledge, and materials the students already know from their courses are put to practical assessment in this test.
However, this assessment is available to students of 38 public schools only. The main objective of Ann Cook, the brain behind the assessment, is to assess the performance of students instead of evaluating them only as ‘test-takers.’ Thus, the students easily transform into active learners.
5. STAR Tests
Yet another standardized math assessment for K-12 students, the STAR assessment, helps educators evaluate the numerical skills students have acquired over the years, whether they are prepared for high-stake tests, etc. Renaissance Learning has designed this assessment.
The STAR math assessment includes questions to check students’ numerical operations (like addition, multiplication, etc.), numerical expressions, percents, square roots, prime numbers, algebraic thinking, geometry, etc., in K-8 grades. For grades 9-12, the syllabus includes data representation, Relations, and Functions, Polygons and Circles, data analysis, data representation, probability, combinatorics, higher geometry, etc.
After finishing school, many students decide not to opt for higher education and start looking for jobs. American College Testing, or ACT, has designed standardized math assessments for them. With the focus fixed on work skill improvement, the assessment includes math skill assessment also. In this assessment, the students have to attend questions that measure their critical thinking and mathematical reasoning in addition to problem-solving techniques.
All these assessment questions give real-life situations that the students are likely to experience at their workplace. The problems include solving them using mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc., converting fractions to decimals and vice versa, converting units (for example, money), etc.
7. International Baccalaureate Exam
The International Baccalaureate, or IB, offers to assess students based on their performance concerning the objectives of the diploma programs they choose to carry on with. The four mathematics courses available with IB include Mathematics: analysis and approaches SL, Mathematics: analysis and approaches HL, Mathematics: applications and interpretation SL, and Mathematics: applications and interpretation HL.
The assessment tests the mathematical knowledge, principles, and concepts of students. It also checks their creative thinking process, critical and logical analysis capability, etc. Overall, the students who take this assessment are checked for their skills in abstraction and generalization.
8. NAEP Assessment
The National Center for Education Statistics has come up with this assessment process named the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The assessment is given to those in grades four and eight every two years. Those in grade 12 get the assessment every four years. The students’ problem-solving knowledge is assessed together with mathematical skills in this assessment.
There are three levels, NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced achievement. The main content areas for the mathematics assessment are geometry, measurements, data analysis, probability, statistics, number operations, algebra, and number properties. The students of grade four can have a four-function calculator for solving problems. Students in 8-12th grade can bring any calculator with them. If they fail to do so, NAEP provides a scientific calculator.
The High School Equivalency (HSE) test is based on the OCTAE College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education. The main target of this assessment are adults and out-of-school youths. Through this assessment, they can acquire an HSE credential issued by the State. The assessment includes mathematics of various levels so that those wishing to join the med school or engineering (necessarily math-heavy) can successfully do so.
Mostly, the questions are related to logical mathematics, data evaluation, numerical estimation, and arithmetic. There are questions from algebra and probability too. Geometry, including circular and polygonal shapes, congruence, Pythagorean theorem, transformations, etc., are also part of the syllabus. Those appearing in this math assessment can use calculators. They will receive a formula sheet from the assessment administrators containing some relevant formulas.
10. Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC)
Arranged by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the TASC assessment is for evaluating the students’ readiness for advanced mathematical learning. This assessment covers five fundamental areas of mathematics. These are quantitative reasoning, graphical interpretation, algebra, probability, and geometry.
This standardized math assessment allows students to use scientific calculators to solve the questions. There are 43 questions in the math assessment divided into two halves. Students must finish the first half of the assessment in fifty minutes and the second half in an hour. However, they cannot use a calculator for the second half of the assessment.
Standardized math assessments are helpful for anyone wishing to take their career to the next level or achieve higher degrees. From the options we gave above, you can choose any for which you are eligible. If you are a parent looking for assessments to evaluate your child’s progress and skill, the above list can be a great source to start with.