The initial pool of over 900 items was obtained from sampling “end of chapter” tests in a variety of science, social studies, and literature series from grades K-12, and by having teachers at each grade level submit several item topics which they thought repre- sented “first time introduced for mastery concepts.” Items for music and the arts were drawn from suggestions of experienced teachers, item topics in other available informal tests and inventories, developmental placement of concepts in curriculum guides.
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Diagnostic Screening Test: Achievement
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1. Total Achievement or General Knowledge Level:
A student’s general knowledge about the world (as related
in scientific, social, literary and artistic areas) is tapped.
When these results are presented as age equivalent
scores, an estimate of mental age is obtained.
2. Practical Knowledge Level: Two types of information are
sampled, Formal (pure/abstract) and Practical. The
Practical Knowledge subtest reflects that which is more
useful and applicable in one’s daily living activities and
which is culturally expected as general knowledge of the
5. Literature and the Arts (L&A) Subtest: Combined in this
section are those aspects of one’s formal and informal
education typically reflective of the “cultured” individual -
Literature, Art, Architecture, Music and related topics. A
low score on this subtest (relative to other area subtests)
frequently indicates a child sociologically defined as lower
class-culturally less advantaged.
3. Science Achievement (Sci) Subtest: This section taps
science facts, concepts and related content material in a
developmental sequnce fairly typical of current science
programs across the United States.
4. Social Studies (SS) Subtest: This subtest strives to
isolate, again in developmental sequence, major concepts
and content maerial typically known by children about
history, geography, government and related areas. It
reflects educational content in U.S. schools and culture.
Science, Social Studies, and Literature and the Arts
Grades: 1 through Junior College
Administration: Individual; 5 to 10 minutes
The DSTA is designed as a quick, valid method for estimating practical data about student’s over all school achievement level in general, and achievement in Science, Social Studies and Literature and the Arts more specifically. Several generally adequate short tests are readily available for assessing the basic skill areas (math, reading and spelling). Since it is also important to be able to obtain quick, reliable estimate of “content” area achievement, the need for a test such as this seems evident. A quick method for obtaining data from which to make practical suggestions for classroom motivation procedures (high incentive value material and activities) is also a useful part of most evaluations. Suggestions of that nature can be formulated from the score pattern on this test.
Five Major Areas Assessed in the DSTA:
Thomas D. Gnagey / Patricia A. Gnagey
Consolidation Index (CI) Computation:
The Consolidation Index (CI) reflects how solid or spotty a student’s knowledge or skill is. It is more accurate in areas which readily lend themselves to graded, developmentally sequenced skill items such as reading, math and spelling. Experience shows it is a useful concept in relation to general knowledge or “School Achievement,” in a broad sense, also.
A student’s total, over-all general achievement in content areas is suggested by the Total Test Score, which can be meaningful in general screening procedures. Althought it is of little importance when it comes to planning specific classroom programs, the DSTA can be useful when used as a base line for comparison with content area scores. An estimate of a child’s mental age can be obtained by using the Total Test Age Equivalent (AE) Score. Any interpretation aimed at making recommendations for procedures, activities or entry level for instructional purposes should include the utilization of the CI.