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An aptitude test measures an individual’s ability to learn. It determines the knowledge that a person has already acquired before taking the test. For instance, an aptitude test may measure academic knowledge in mathematics, science, reading, geography, and so on. As a result, the test can enable teachers and parents predict the performance of students in school (Myers, 2009).
On the other hand, an achievement test measures the knowledge and skills that students have already learned. This test is a general assessment given to an individual to measure his understanding of acquired skills or content (Myers, 2009). An achievement test is useful in placing a student in an appropriate level course. It can also determine the additional help that the student needs. An achievement test may determine the current knowledge and skills of an individual (Myers, 2009). Examples of achievement tests are the tests that teachers prepare for students such as the end of term examination.
Both aptitude and achievement tests measure a person’s prior knowledge in a given discipline. In addition, both tests require an external examiner to prepare and score. Moreover, both tests are useful as entrance criteria to a field, be it employment or school level (Gazzaniga, 2010).
However, there are differences between the two types of tests. First, achievement tests measure the knowledge and skills acquired by a person over a course of study. Contrary, the aptitude tests measure a person’s potential, skills or abilities not related to a course of study (Myers, 2009). Besides, achievement tests confine themselves to an area of knowledge. On the other hand, aptitude tests base on a general area of knowledge (Gazzaniga, 2010).
In summary, an achievement test measures what the individual can do. On the other hand, an aptitude test measures what the individual has done.