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What Is the Difference Between Achievement and Ability Testing?

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1. What is the difference between achievement and ability testing?

Achievement tests are very different in the sense that these exams are taken to gauge the extent of what the child or student has already learned. Skills and current knowledge regarding both familiar and trivial subject matters, which were most likely discussed previously, can all be included. This type of test is the most commonly used test form at school because almost all tests that measure the knowledge of what the students have learned from the lesson are achievement exams like long tests, preliminary exams, midterm exams and even the final exams.

Ability testing measure a person's ability to problem solve, analyze, understand and adapt to new situations or challenges. They are usually timed (approximately 15 - 40 minutes), consist of short questions where there is only one right answer but a lot of wrong ones. They are re typically multiple choice, or short answer format where you are asked to provide a number or a single word response. Are generally designed to discriminate between highly talented candidates therefore few candidates finish them. The questions usually become progressively more difficult and each question is commonly worth the same value therefore speed of cognitive processing and number of correct answers are important. Most ability tests do not penalize you for incorrect answers, you will need to check this with the test supervisor before you begin. They are usually paper and pencil tests although some are available in electronic format.

2. What is Adaptive Behavior?

Refers to the effectiveness or degree with which individuals meet the standards of personal independence and social responsibility expected for age and cultural groups. When doing a evaluation of adaptive behavior, the examiner should focus on a number of areas such as:

Communication skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, self-care, home living, social skills, leisure, and work skills.

3. What does Emotionally Disturbed mean?

A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

-An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors

-An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers

-Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

-A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

-A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems


Pierangelo, R., & Giuliani, G. A. (2017). Assessment in special education: A practical approach (5th ed.). Pearson.

A. Achievement Tests:

Which test did you view? KTEA-3

1. What is the purpose of the test?

The purpose of this test is to see where there at within the areas of reading (letter & word recognition, reading and comprehension), math (math concepts & applications, math computation), and written language (written expression and spelling). Additional subtests may be administered if they suspect a specific issue with a student.

2. Task analysis – look at modalities, materials and activities. How is the test given?

At the middle school this test is given through a book. This test is given 1 on 1 and some students are able to finish the test in a day where some need it broken into pieces for them.

3. Discuss the test’s design to instructional planning. How is the information from the test used?

The information on this test is used to see what areas they need extra support in and to figure out their goals.

B. Ability Tests:

Which test did you view?

WISC-V block design

1. What is the purpose of the test?



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