Understanding the Difference Between Standardized and Teacher Made Test: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to education, testing is a crucial factor in assessing a student’s knowledge and progress. However, not all tests are created equal. There are two main types of tests: standardized and teacher-made tests. Standardized tests are created and administered by outside organizations, while teacher-made tests are designed by teachers to fit their specific curriculum and teaching style.

The difference between these two types of tests goes beyond just who creates them. Standardized tests are designed to provide objective measurements of a student’s knowledge and abilities compared to a larger pool of students, while teacher-made tests focus on what is being taught in the classroom. This means that standardized tests tend to be more general and cover a broader range of topics, while teacher-made tests can be more specific to what students have learned in class.

Another key difference between standardized and teacher-made tests is how they are graded. Standardized tests are typically graded by a machine or computer program, which means there is less room for interpretation or subjective grading. Teacher-made tests, on the other hand, are usually graded by the teacher themselves, which can lead to more individualized and flexible grading. Overall, both types of tests have their strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to educators to choose the best type of test for their students and curriculum.

Advantages of standardized testing

Standardized testing is a form of assessment used across schools and districts that involves administering the same exam to all students and then comparing their scores. Though standardized testing has been a subject of debate in the education sector, there are several advantages associated with it. Here are some of the key benefits of standardized testing:

  • Reliability: Standardized tests are generally considered to be a reliable measure of student learning as they are highly structured, and each student takes the same exam under the same conditions. This ensures that the scores are based on the students’ knowledge and skills, rather than on other factors such as teacher bias or the difficulty level of the test.
  • Objectivity: Standardized tests are designed to be objective, which means that the scoring is based on predetermined criteria, and not the subjective opinions of the examiners. This eliminates a lot of the potential for human error and ensures that students are assessed fairly and consistently.
  • Accountability: Standardized tests are often used as a tool for measuring the effectiveness of schools, teachers, and individual student performance. This makes them an important part of the accountability process, as they provide reliable data that can be used to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

Pros and Cons of Teacher-Made Tests

Teacher-made tests refer to assessment tools that are created by teachers themselves. Unlike standardized tests, these are not standardized in their format, content, or administration. Teacher-made tests have become popular in recent years because they allow for more flexibility and personalization in the assessment process. They also let teachers assess the knowledge, skills and abilities of their students based on their classroom experience.

However, these tests have some pros and cons that should be considered before they are chosen as the main assessment tool. Here are some of the pros and cons of teacher-made tests:

  • Pros:
    • More personalized: Since teacher-made tests are created by individuals who are more familiar with their students, the tests are often personalized and based on individualized classroom instruction. This can help students feel more comfortable during assessments and can also help them understand the material better.
    • Supports students’ learning: Teachers can tailor questions to students’ ability levels, giving them the opportunity to show what they know and build their confidence.
    • Formative assessment tool: Teachers can use the information obtained from teacher-made tests to modify their instruction to better meet the needs of their students.
    • Flexible: Teachers have greater flexibility in adapting the test to their own curriculum and can include curriculum-specific items.
  • Cons:
    • May not be reliable: Teacher-made test scores are often dependent on the teacher’s assessment and grading skills, making it challenging to maintain objectivity. It can affect the accuracy of the grades and could lead to misconceptions about a student’s progress.
    • Limited validity: These tests may not have the level of standardization that standardized tests do, limiting their validity in determining students’ aptitude in certain subjects.
    • May lead to inconsistency: Teachers may have different standards and expectations, leading to inconsistency in grading and assessment comparisons from one teacher to another.
    • Requires significant time and effort: Creating good quality assessments takes time and effort and may add time constraints for preparing lesson plans and other classroom responsibilities.


Teacher-made tests are flexible and personalized, but need to be developed taking into account training and experience professionals have. However, they are not perfect and have their own limitations and drawbacks. Thus, it is important for teachers to weigh these pros and cons before deciding to rely solely on teacher-made tests or integrating them into their assessment toolbox.

Pros Cons
Allows personalized assessment May not be reliable
Supports students’ learning Limited validity
Flexible May lead to inconsistency
Formative assessment tool Requires significant time and effort

While teacher-made test has its own pros and cons, it is essential to keep in mind the impact of teacher-made assessments on students’ learning, progress and success in classrooms.

How to Determine Which Type of Test to Use

When it comes to conducting assessments in schools, two types of tests are commonly used: standardized and teacher-made tests. While both assessments aim to measure students’ knowledge and skills, they differ in the purpose, administration, and scoring. To decide which type of test to use in a given situation, educators should keep in mind a few factors that we will discuss in this section.

  • Consider the Purpose of the Test: The first step in determining the type of test to use is to consider the purpose of the assessment. Standardized tests are designed to measure students’ proficiency in a particular subject or skill against a standardized benchmark. These tests are usually administered at the state or national level and aim to provide data on student performance to policymakers and educators. In contrast, teacher-made tests are created by individual teachers for their students and are aligned with the specific content and skills taught in their classroom.
  • Assess the Level of Standardization: Another important factor is the level of standardization required. Standardized tests use the same test items across all students in a particular grade or subject, and scoring is done according to a pre-determined rubric. This approach ensures that all students are tested on the same set of skills and knowledge, and the results can be compared across different schools and districts. In contrast, teacher-made tests can vary widely in terms of content, format, and scoring. While this flexibility allows teachers to tailor the assessment to their students’ needs, it also makes it harder to compare results across different classes or schools.
  • Consider the Time and Resources Available: The time and resources available for conducting the assessment are also critical factors to consider. Standardized tests are typically administered over several days, and the grading is done by trained scorers or machines. This approach requires significant time and resources but can provide a wealth of data on student performance. Teacher-made tests, on the other hand, can be administered in a single class period and graded quickly by the teacher. This approach is more resource-efficient but may not provide as much data on student performance compared to standardized tests.

Which Type of Test to Use?

After considering the above factors, educators should decide which type of test is most appropriate for their students and the specific assessment goals. In some cases, a combination of standardized and teacher-made tests may be the best approach. For example, standardized tests can provide a broad overview of student performance, while teacher-made tests can provide more detailed information on specific skills and content areas.

Standardized Tests Teacher-Made Tests
Measure proficiency against standardized benchmarks Aligned with specific content and skills taught in the classroom
Same test items administered to all students in a grade or subject Flexible content, format, and scoring based on teacher discretion
Requires significant time and resources for administration and scoring Can be administered and graded quickly by the teacher

In conclusion, the choice between standardized and teacher-made tests should depend on the specific assessment objectives, the level of standardization required, and the resources available. Ultimately, assessments should be designed to provide meaningful information on student learning and inform instructional decision-making.

Standardized testing and the achievement gap

Standardized testing is a contentious issue in education, with critics arguing that it perpetuates the achievement gap between different groups of students.

While standardized tests are designed to be objective, they have been criticized for being biased against certain groups of students, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds or from minority groups.

  • According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, standardized tests are not an accurate measure of intelligence or ability, but rather a measure of how well a student can perform on a particular test.
  • Some experts argue that standardized tests are not designed to assess the skills and abilities needed for success in higher education or in the workforce.
  • Furthermore, standardized tests are often used to determine school funding, teacher performance, and student promotion or retention, which can have serious consequences for students who perform poorly on these tests.
Race/Ethnicity Percentage Scoring Proficient or Above in Reading Percentage Scoring Proficient or Above in Math
Asian 59% 70%
White 46% 53%
Hispanic/Latino 21% 27%
Black/African American 16% 18%

Standardized testing has been linked to the achievement gap, which is the disparities in academic performance between different groups of students based on factors such as race, socio-economic status, and gender. The table above shows the percentages of students in different racial and ethnic groups who scored proficient or above in reading and math on a standardized test.

While there are many factors that contribute to the achievement gap, standardized testing can exacerbate these inequalities by measuring only a narrow range of skills and abilities and ignoring other factors that contribute to academic success.

The Role of Teacher-Made Tests in Assessing Student Progress

Teacher-made tests are assessments created by teachers themselves, often used to measure student understanding and progress in a given subject or topic. They can come in a variety of forms, including multiple choice, short answer, essay questions, or even performance-based tasks. While these types of assessments may not be as standardized as other methods, they play an important role in understanding student progress and performance.

Advantages of Teacher-Made Tests

  • Flexibility: Teachers can create tests that are tailored specifically to the content and objectives covered in their courses or units. This allows for more targeted assessment of student knowledge and skills.
  • Immediate feedback: Unlike standardized tests that may take weeks or even months to receive results, teacher-made tests can provide immediate feedback to both students and teachers. This allows for more immediate identification of areas where students may need additional support or instruction.
  • Authentic assessment: Teacher-made tests can assess a wider range of student skills and abilities beyond just recall of information. For example, they may include performance tasks that allow for students to demonstrate their understanding of real-world skills, such as problem-solving or critical thinking.

Disadvantages of Teacher-Made Tests

While teacher-made tests have many advantages, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Inconsistency: Since teacher-made tests are not standardized, there may be variability in the difficulty and format of the assessments created. This can make it difficult to compare results across students or classes.
  • Possible bias: Teachers may unintentionally create tests that favor certain students or groups over others. Additionally, grading practices may also introduce bias into the assessment process.

Effective Use of Teacher-Made Tests

To ensure that teacher-made tests are effective in assessing student progress, it is important for teachers to:

  • Create clear learning objectives and align assessments to those objectives.
  • Use a variety of assessment methods to gain a comprehensive understanding of student learning and progress.
  • Ensure that assessments are fair and unbiased through careful planning and grading practices.
  • Use assessment data to inform instruction and identify areas where students may need additional support or enrichment.


Standardized Tests Teacher-Made Tests
Focused on comparing student performance across a large population Focused on measuring student progress within a specific class or instructional unit
Used for high-stakes decisions, such as graduation or college admissions Used primarily for diagnostic and formative purposes
Can be limiting in their ability to measure student skills beyond basic knowledge recall Allow for more targeted and authentic assessment of student knowledge and skills

While standardized tests may have their place in the education system, teacher-made tests should not be overlooked in their ability to effectively measure student progress and understanding. When used appropriately, teacher-made tests can provide valuable insight into student learning and help inform instruction for improved outcomes.

Comparing and contrasting standardized and teacher-made tests

Standardized tests and teacher-made tests are two of the most common types of assessments used in schools to evaluate the academic progress of students. While both have their unique benefits and drawbacks, they differ in several key ways.

Standardized Tests vs. Teacher-Made Tests

  • Standardized Tests
    • Developed by experts in education and test design
    • Administered and scored in a consistent and uniform manner
    • Include questions on a wide range of topics
    • Can be used to compare the academic performance of students across different regions and schools
    • May not accurately measure certain skills or knowledge that are specific to a particular classroom or teacher
    • Can create a high-stakes environment and may not reflect the day-to-day performance of a student
  • Teacher-Made Tests
    • Developed by the teacher, who has the most knowledge of the students’ progress and abilities
    • Can be tailored to the specific needs and goals of the classroom
    • May better reflect the day-to-day performance and growth of the student
    • Can be time-consuming and can vary in quality and rigor based on the teacher’s expertise and preparation
    • May not be able to measure the student’s ability to perform under high-stakes testing conditions

The Importance of Using Both Types of Tests

While the differences between standardized and teacher-made tests are significant, it is important to use both types of assessments in any school. Standardized tests can provide important information about student performance compared to other students across the country or region. At the same time, teacher-made tests can provide more detailed information about the progress of students within a particular classroom and can be used to inform instruction and identify areas of strength and weakness.


Standardized Tests Teacher-Made Tests
Developed by experts Developed by teacher
Uniform and consistent administration Tailored to specific needs
Can compare student performance across region/school Reflect day-to-day performance of student
May not accurately measure certain skills/knowledge May vary in quality and rigor
High-stakes environment May not perform under high-stakes environment

Both types of tests have their own unique benefits and drawbacks and can be used to provide a comprehensive assessment of student learning. The teachers can use the results obtained from both the tests to identify areas of improvement, tailor instruction and evaluate the effectiveness of their instructional methods.

Standardized testing and its impact on education policy.

Standardized testing is a method of evaluating student performance, where students take the same test under the same conditions. These tests generally assess a student’s knowledge in areas such as math, reading, and science. While they are intended to ensure that all students are held to the same standards, this approach has become controversial because it is often seen as a one-size-fits-all approach to education.

  • Standardized tests have had a significant impact on education policy in the United States.
  • There is a great deal of pressure on schools to ensure that their students perform well on these tests because they are used to evaluate the quality of education provided by the school.
  • Standardized tests are also used to evaluate teachers’ effectiveness and determine if they should receive merit pay or even if they should keep their jobs.

While standardized tests have been part of the educational landscape for decades, critics have voiced concerns about the impact they have on students, teachers, and schools.

One criticism is that standardized tests only measure a narrow range of skills and knowledge. This means that students who may have different learning styles or interests may not perform as well, and may be at a disadvantage compared to their peers who excel in the areas being evaluated. Additionally, these tests are often high-stakes, meaning that a student’s entire academic future can be impacted by a single test. This creates a great deal of anxiety, and some students may “freeze up” under the pressure, hindering their performance.

Another criticism of standardized testing is that they can be used as justification for funding cuts or even school closures. In many cases, schools that perform poorly on standardized tests risk losing funding or being shut down entirely. This can be especially problematic in low-income areas where students may lack the same resources as their wealthier peers.

Pros Cons
Provide a common measure to evaluate student achievement across different schools and districts. May not accurately measure student knowledge and skills or account for differences in learning styles.
Encourage consistency in teaching and learning. May cause stress and anxiety for students, and limit creativity in the classroom.
Can be used to identify areas of weakness in schools and districts. Can be used as an excuse to reduce funding or close schools without providing adequate resources to improve performance

In conclusion, standardized testing has become a major part of the education system in many countries. While it has some benefits in terms of providing a common measure of student achievement, it also has many drawbacks. These tests can limit creativity, cause stress, and may not accurately measure student knowledge and skills. Ultimately, policymakers and educators must work to strike a balance between using standardized tests as an evaluation tool and ensuring that they do not have undue influence on schools, teachers, and students.

FAQs: What is the difference between standardized and teacher-made test?

Q: What is a standardized test?

A: A standardized test is a measurement tool that follows specific format, administration instructions, and scoring. It is used to compare an individual’s performance against a pre-determined standard or norm.

Q: What is a teacher-made test?

A: A teacher-made test is designed and evaluated by the teacher based on the class curriculum, objectives, and learning outcomes. The format and content may vary, and scoring is usually subjective.

Q: What are the advantages of a standardized test?

A: Standardized tests provide a fair and objective way to compare students’ performance across schools, districts, or states. They also allow for data-driven decision making in terms of student placement, instructional strategies, and resource allocation.

Q: What are the advantages of a teacher-made test?

A: Teacher-made tests are more flexible and can be tailored to students’ specific needs and interests. They also allow for immediate feedback and formative assessment, which can enhance student learning and motivation.

Q: Which type of test is better?

A: There is no single answer to this question, as both types of tests serve different purposes and have their own strengths and weaknesses. However, a balanced approach that combines standardized and teacher-made tests can provide a more comprehensive and accurate assessment of student learning.

Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Learning!

We hope this FAQ has helped you understand the differences between standardized and teacher-made tests. Remember, both types have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the best approach is to use a variety of assessment methods that align with your goals and objectives. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you again soon!