Diagnostic testing is an important tool for educators who want to know where their students are academically in order to bring those students to where they need to be. If you want your students to move forward, you need to identify where they have started; diagnostic testing is the way to do this.

Purpose

A diagnostic test measures where students are in terms of their knowledge and skills. It will assess the abilities that students have at a particular time to solve problems or answer questions in a subject area.

Uses

A teacher uses a diagnostic test to assess students' strengths and weaknesses in a specific subject area. It shows her how much they know about her subject and also how much more they still need to know before they leave her class.

Classes

Diagnostic tests can be especially beneficial for teachers who have multiple classes to teach within one subject. A diagnostic test given to all classes can show that teacher, for example, that first-period students are comfortable with fractions, but third-period students still need some practice in that area.

Repetition

A diagnostic test is useful if a teacher uses it more than once throughout the school year. Given at the beginning of the year, it can help the teachers plan his instruction. Midyear, he can determine how much students have learned so far and what he needs to review. At the end of the year, a diagnostic test can provide an assessment of a student's total learning for the class.

Growth

A diagnostic test can show how much students have grown in a class or in their knowledge of a subject.