Achievement, Aptitude, and Ability Tests
Howard E. A. Tinsley
Many psychologists use labels such as achievement test, aptitude test , and ability test imprecisely, and nonpsychologists use them as synonyms. This lack of precision is understandable because in actual practice, tests bearing these labels often appear to be quite similar and are used for similar purposes. This entry explains the theoretical distinction among achievement, aptitude, and ability tests; describes the primary uses of these tests; and provides a brief overview of the types of subscales widely used in these tests and the constructs they measure. Achievement tests are designed to assess the extent to which a person has developed a specific motor skill or learned a specific body of knowledge. Typically, an achievement test is administered following a period of instruction designed to teach the motor or cognitive skill to be examined. The prototypical achievement test is the periodic classroom exam that is administered to determine how much the ...