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Social Processes: Methodology · Types of test

The Stanford Achievement Test Series, usually referred to simply as the "SAT 9" or "SAT 10" (where the number reflects the series being used), is one of the leading standardized achievement tests utilized by school districts in the United States for assessing children from kindergarten through high school; it is used to measure academic knowledge of elementary and secondary school students. The test is available in 13 levels that roughly correspond to the year in school. Each level of the test is broken into subtests or strands covering various subjects such as reading comprehension, mathematical problem solving, and science.

The tests include three types of questions: multiple choice, short answer, and extended response. Besides requiring a written answer of five or six sentences, the extended response may also require the student to graph, illustrate or show work. Such answers are usually included within the areas of science or mathematics.

Test scores can be reported in several different formats that measure performance in different ways, including a developmental scale, norm-based scores that compare a student's performance with that of a representative sample of students across the United States, and achievement-to-ability comparisons with scores from the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test. One type of report indicates the grade level of a student who, if answering those same questions, would have gotten the same percentage of questions correct as the real student. For example, if a 5th grade student scores a 6 in Science, it means that an average 6th grader would get about the same percentage of questions right as that particular 5th grade student.

Dating from its origin in 1926, the test is now in its tenth incarnation, or "Series". Although in many states it is being replaced by state-created tests (mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001), it is not equivalent to most of these tests, in that the Stanford series are more comprehensive in scope than the newer assessments. The SAT 10 is currently published by Pearson plc, who acquired Harcourt Assessment on January 30, 2008.

It is not to be confused with the SAT, a test administered by the College Board for use in college admissions.

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