What Do Test Scores
By Dr. Christine Davidson
For a parent to determine if a child is progressing at an appropriate rate,
it’s important to first understand tests and how results are reported.
“My fifth-grade son scored 2. 6 grade
equivalency on a reading test. What does
this mean? How do I know if he is just
a late bloomer or might have a learning
disability? How do I know if I am expecting too much or too little of him? If he is
performing three grades below grade level,
will he ever catch up?”
This loaded question is one I receive on a daily basis. The following Q & A and tips will provide you withsolidanswers
to commonly asked questions.
Q. What do test scores mean and
what do they measure?
As a former teacher and school admin-
istrator, a licensed educational psycholo-
gist and an educational expert, I receive
these questions every day. For a parent
to determine if a child is progressing at
an appropriate rate, it’s important to first
understand tests and how results are re-
ported. Is a fifth-grade student perform-
ing within the average range if his read-
ing test score is 2. 6?
TIP 1: To accurately evaluate your
child’s scores, you need to know which
tests were used and what those tests measure. For information about thousands of
tests, go to Testlink from the Educational
Testing Service (ETS) at www.ets.org.
Q. How can I understand and
track my child’s test scores?
Just as you can track your child’s physical growth using a measuring tape and
bathroom scale, tests can be used to
measure your child’s academic growth
and change. Most school districts have
standardized achievement tests, which
give parents information about how well
schools are performing in educating
Standardized achievement tests measure reading, math, and written expression skills. Learning to understand test
scores is as simple as understanding how