What Is an Achievement Test?

Achievement test
Achievement tests can be used to determine what you know about a particular topic. BFG Images / Getty Images

An achievement test is designed to measure a person's level of skill, accomplishment, or knowledge in a specific area. Some examples of achievement tests include:

  • A math exam covering the latest chapter in your book
  • A test in your social psychology class
  • A comprehensive final in your Spanish class
  • A skills demonstration in your martial arts class

Each of these tests is designed to assess how much you know at a specific point in time about a certain topic.

Achievement tests are not used to determine what you are capable of; they are designed to evaluate what you know and your level of skill at the given moment.

When Are Achievement Tests Used?

Achievement tests are often used in educational and training settings. In schools, for example, achievements tests are frequently used to determine the level of education for which students might be prepared. Students might take such a test to determine if they are ready to enter into a particular grade level or if they are ready to pass of a particular subject or grade level and move on to the next.

Standardized achievement tests are also used extensively in educational settings to determine if students have met specific learning goals. Each grade level has certain educational expectations, and testing is used to determine if schools, teachers, and students are meeting those standards.

How Do Achievement Tests Differ From Aptitude Tests?

Achievement tests differ in important ways from aptitude tests.

An aptitude test is designed your potential for success in a certain area. For example, a student might take an aptitude test to help determine which types of career they might be best suited for. An achievement test, on the other hand, would be designed to determine what a student already knows about a specific subject.

More Psychology Definitions: The Psychology Dictionary

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