Assessing students under age 11

It is standard practice that normative tests are not generally recommended for use outside the age range for which they have been standardised. Any test, such as Exact, which meets basic psychometric criteria must be standardised on a given population, and this will determine the range of applicability of the test (see Section 1.4 for an explanation of the standardisation process.) Tests appropriate to the student’s chronological age should be used wherever possible, to avoid the danger of inappropriate decisions being made – e.g. that a student is ‘at risk’ (or not ‘at risk’) when the evidence for this may be unsound.

If the student being assessed is younger than 11:0, then Exact will use the norms for 11-year- olds when analysing results, and this will almost certainly lead to an underestimation of their performance as chronological age generally has a major impact on performance in childhood. Consequently, use of Exact with children under the age of 11 is not recommended, and use with children under the age of 9 is definitely not approved. However, if it is necessary to use Exact with children between 9 and 11, ‘age equivalents’ would be the preferred form of scores for the teacher or administrator to use, and results should always be interpreted with caution. An age equivalent is defined as the chronological age range of individuals that would be expected to achieve a given raw score. However, age equivalents are a less accurate way of representing results than standard scores or percentile scores and so should be used with caution. For further information about age equivalents, see Section 3.2.4.