|Course:||Postgraduate Certificate - Tertiary Level Teaching|
|Module:||Assessing Student Performance|
|Page:||5 - Norm-referenced, criterion-referenced and ipsative assessment|
Norm-referenced, criterion-referenced and ipsative assessment
A second basic distinction is that between norm-referenced assessment, criterion-referenced assessment and ipsative assessment.
It may also involve establishing arbitrary pass rates, mark distributions or grade distributions, eg telling the students that only 10% will be awarded 'A' grades, 20% 'B' grades, 35% 'C' grades, and so on. Norm-referenced assessment has a long tradition of use in national and professional examinations, and is widely used in schools and colleges in the United States. It is, on the face of it, a rather unfair approach to assessment, since only relative attainment, not absolute attainment is being recognised. Since the late 1980's, the term has been applied to virtually all assessment in which students are assigned a percentage mark - or, indeed, a numerical mark of any sort - as opposed to being assessed with respect to set performance criteria of some sort, as in criterion-referenced assessment.
Criterion-referenced assessment of this type is used in all competence-based courses, and is also used in the assessment of vocational qualifications. The standard driving test is a good example of criterion-referenced assessment.