Criterion-Referenced Test Law and Legal Definition

In a criterion referenced test, questions are written according to specific predetermined criteria. A student knows his/her standards for passing the test. While completing the test, the student competes against himself/ herself. Most tests and quizzes written by school teachers are criterion-referenced tests. The tests assess specific skills covered in class.

The purpose of conducting a criterion referenced test is to see whether the student has learned the material. Additionally, criterion test results give specific information on skills and sub-skills the student understands. They also provide information on skills the student has not mastered. This information is useful in determining:

what type of specially designed instruction the student needs; and

what the instruction must cover.