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Norm-Referenced Testing

  1. Anil Kanjee

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0611

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Kanjee, A. 2010. Norm-Referenced Testing. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


A norm-referenced test (NRT) refers to a test on which the score of an examinee is reported in comparison to a distribution of scores of other examinees in a reference group. The standards for comparisons are called norms, and the group in which the norms are obtained is called a norm group. Norm-referenced testing differs from criterion-referenced testing (CRT), in that the primary purpose of CRTs is to determine how examinees perform in comparison to a predetermined performance level or outcome. NRTs provide information on how well an examinee performs in comparison to other examinees, whereas CRTs provide information on what an examinee knows and can do. A mathematical test used to determine an examinee's performance against specific curriculum outcomes is an example of CRT. By comparison, when assessing mathematical aptitude of examinees, the reference point becomes a specific comparison group.


  • norm group;
  • norming;
  • percental rank;
  • developmental scale;
  • normalized standard scale