Norm-Referenced and Criterion-Referenced Tests

Use in Pediatrics and Application to Task Analysis of Motor Skill

Patricia C Montgomery, Barbara H Connolly


The purposes of this article are 1) to compare the similarities and differences between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests and 2) to summarize how each should be used in the assessment of developmental performance in children. Specific developmental assessments, the populations they address, and the information they provide are described briefly. The need for additional criterion-referenced tests in physical therapy is discussed, and an example of how task analysis can be applied to movement or motor skills in the development of a criterion-referenced test is provided. Physical therapists can enhance the credibility of their assessments by appropriate use of norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests.

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