In order to provide a structure for describing different approaches to testing, five dimensions along which tests may differ are identified. The dimensions are (1) test uses, (2) item generation, (3) item revision, (4)assessment of precision, and (5) validation. Within each dimension, variations are described reflecting Buros' (1977) distinction between differentiation and measurement. These dimensions are used to profile representative tests from the area of reading comprehension. Only standardized, norm-referenced achievement tests, whose uses (dimension 1) emphasize differentiation, were found to have an inference system (dimension 2through 5) consistent with those intended uses. No tests were found having inference systems consistent with such intended uses as certifying competence, diagnosing strengths and weaknesses, and tracking progress--uses which emphasize the measurement function of tests. Tests constructed using a domain-referenced approach would yield such an inference system and fill some gaps in the array of currently available measures of reading comprehension.
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