The standardized educational or psychological tests, which are widely used to aid in selecting, assigning or promoting students, employees and military personnel, have been the target of recent attacks in books, magazines, the daily press, and even in Congress. The target is wrong, for, in attacking the tests, critics divert attention from the fault that lies with ill-informed or incompetent users. The tests themselves are merely tools. Whether the results will be valuable, meaningless, or even misleading depends partly upon the tool itself but largely upon the user.
All informed predictions of future performance are based upon some knowledge of relevant past performance. How well the predictions will be validated by later performance depends upon the amount, reliability and appropriateness of the information used and on the skill and wisdom with which it is interpreted. Anyone who keeps careful score knows that the information available is always incomplete and that the predictions are always subject to error.
Standardized tests should be considered in this context: they provide a quick, objective method of getting some kind of information about what a person has learned, the skills he has developed, or the kind of person he is. The information so obtained has, qualitatively, the same advantages and shortcomings as other kinds of information. Whether to use tests, other kinds of information, or both in a particular situation depends, therefore, upon the empirical evidence concerning comparative validity and upon such factors as cost and availability.
In general, the tests work most effectively when the traits or qualities to be measured can be most precisely defined ( for example, ability to do well in a particular course of training program ) and least effectively when what is to be measured or predicted cannot be well defined, for example, personality or creativity. Properly used, they provide a rapid means of getting comparable information about many people. Sometimes they identify students whose high potential has not been previously recognized.
1. In this passage, the author is primarily concerned with _________.
A. the necessity of standardized tests
B. the validity of standardized tests
C. the method used in interpreting the results of standardized tests.
D. the theoretical grounds of standardized tests.
2. We can infer from the passage that _______.
A. standardized tests should no longer be used.
B. results of standardized tests accurately reflect the abilities of the testees
C. the value of standardized tests lies in their proper interpretation
D. special methods must be applied to the result of standardized tests.1 2 3 4
3. The word “empirical” (Line 6, Para.3) most probably means “ ___________”