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1. a series of questions or problems designed to test a specific skill or knowledge
a. a chemical reaction or physical procedure for testing a substance, material, etc.
b. a chemical reagent used in such a procedure
c. the result of the procedure or the evidence gained from it


1. the hard or tough outer covering of certain invertebrates and tunicates
2. a variant of testa
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a way of checking students of higher educational institutions and pupils of secondary specialized educational institutions to see how well they have carried out their laboratory work, design and feasibility assignments, and course projects (papers) and to evaluate the knowledge and habits they have gained in their practicums and seminar classes and in the process of curricular study and practical production work. The passing of all tests provided for by the curriculum during a particular semester (as a rule, no more than six) is a necessary prerequisite for the student’s admission to the final examination period. Tests with differentiated weighted values are established for course projects, production practical work, and subjects, a list of which is determined by the council of the higher educational institution (department) or the pedagogical councils of the secondary specialized educational institutions.



(1) In psychology and pedagogy, a standardized set of tasks to be completed, the results of which can be used as a measure of the subject’s psychophysiological and personality characteristics as well as of his knowledge, intelligence, and skills.

Tests were first used in 1864 by J. Fischer in Great Britain to verify what students had learned. In 1883 the English psychologist F. Galton worked out the theoretical foundations of testing—namely, the use of a series of identical trials with a large number of individuals, the statistical processing of the results, and the provision of standards of evaluation. The term “test” was first employed by the American psychologist J. Cattell in 1890. He proposed a series of 50 tests, which were in effect a program to determine simple psychophysiological characteristics on the basis of the most advanced psychological experiments of that time—for example, measurement of the strength of the right and left hands by means of a dynamometer and measurement of the speed of reactions to sound. The principles of testing research were applied to man’s higher mental functions by the French psychologist A. Binet: his series of tests in 1891 included tasks that tested memory, types of representation, attention, and aesthetic and ethical feelings. The German psychologist W. Stern introduced the concept of the intelligence quotient in 1911.

In the early 20th century differences between psychological and pedagogical testing began to be distinguished. The first standardized pedagogical test was constructed by the American psychologist E. Thorndike. The development of testing was one of the factors contributing to the general adoption of mathematical methods in psychology and pedagogy; the American psychologist C. Spearman developed the basic methods of correlation analysis for the standardization of tests and for the objective measurement of test research data. Spearman’s statistical methods, and particularly the application of factor analysis, played an important role in the further development of testing. In psychotechnology, tests came into wide use for occupational selection.

Test research was most highly developed in the USA; during World War II, for example, approximately 20 million persons were tested there in connection with their induction into the army. In the USSR, tests were first designed and used in the 1920s. The first series of tests for schools was published in 1926. However, the identification of testing principles with pedological theory and practice led to serious mistakes in test research, as was noted in the decree of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) dated July 4, 1936, On Pedological Distortions in the System of People’s Commissariats of Education.

Test systems are based on the most varied theoretical concepts; in the USA, for example, they may be based on behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, or neo-Freudianism. However, the construction of a test follows a common plan, which consists of defining the test’s goals, drawing up the test in draft form, pilot testing of a representative sample of test subjects, correcting deficiencies, and working out a measurement scale (based on qualitative considerations and statistical processing of results) as well as a set of rules for interpreting the results. The quality of a test is determined by such characteristics as reliability, validity (that is, conformity of the results obtained to the goal of the test), and the problems’ power of differentiation.

In practice, tests are mainly used to diagnose an individual’s personality traits as expressed by quantitative indexes. The prediction of personality development has given rise to a special kind of test that is chiefly based on the methods of depth psychology—namely, the projective type, of which the Rorschach test is an example.

The uses to which tests have been put in the USSR include occupational selection, psychopathological diagnosis, and determination of the human psychophysiological potential in different kinds of sports. Studies have been initiated with the aim of testing students’ knowledge, intelligence, and skills.

(2) In physiology and medicine, tests are used to study an organism’s various physiological processes, such as the secretory and motor processes, as well as to determine the functional condition of individual organs and tissues and of the organism as a whole—for example, the excitability of individual muscles and nerves or the respiratory function of the lungs.


Binet, A., and T. Simon. Metody izmereniia umstvennoi odarennosti. [Kharkov] 1923. (Translated from French.)
Simon, B. Angliiskaia shkola i intellektual’nye testy. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from English.)
Guilford, J. “Tri storony intellekta.” In the collection Psikhologiia myshleniia. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from German and English.)
Eksperimental’naia psikhologiia. Compiled by P. Fraisse and J. Piaget. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from French.)
Tsaturova, I. A. Iz istorii razvitiia testov v SSSR i za rubezhom. Taganrog, 1969.
Galton, F. Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development. London, 1883.
Cattell. Mental Tests and Measurements. London, 1890.
Cronbach, L. J. Essentials of Psychological Testing, 2nd ed. New York, 1960.
Anastasi, A. Psychological Testing, 3rd ed. London, 1969.
(3) In computer technology, a problem specially chosen for the purpose of verifying that a digital computer is functioning properly. What are known as test routines and test data are used to check the correctness of programs written for the computer—that is, they are used for debugging. Test routines are usually constructed so as to permit the performance of the program as a whole or of individual parts of the program to be checked. Some test routines are also diagnostic—that is, they are used to determine the location and nature of a computer malfunction or to detect mistakes in a program.
(4) In pattern recognition, a set of attributes that are functionally interdependent and that characterize a given pattern, or class. Tests are often used in diagnostic work—in medical diagnostics, for example, or for locating malfunctions in electrical systems—as well as for such purposes as geometric pattern recognition.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(industrial engineering)
A procedure in which the performance of a product is measured under various conditions.
(invertebrate zoology)
A hard external covering or shell that is calcareous, siliceous, chitinous, fibrous, or membranous.
(petroleum engineering)
A procedure for the analysis of current, potential and ultimate product flow, and pressure-decline properties of various types of petroleum reservoirs.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A check on the performance characteristics of a building component, device, material, piece of equipment, or system to determine its conformity with performance criteria and standards. Tests may be performed in the prototype stage, during manufacture, at the site during and after installation, after the project’s completion, or at any combination of these times.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


his faith is tested when God demands the sacrifice of his son Isaac. [O.T.: Genesis 22:13]
Arthur, King
(c. 950–1000) becomes King of England by pulling sword from stone. [Arth. Legend: NCE, 159]
Carmel, Mt.
site of contest between Elijah and Baal priests. [O.T.: I Kings 18:19–40]
Cuban missile crisis
President Kennedy called Krushchev’s bluff, forcing dismantling of missile sites (1962). [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 581–582]
. testing of contemporary Job. [Am. Lit.: J.B.]
tormented to test devoutness. [O.T.: Job 1, 2]
Judgment of God
medieval trial by combat or ordeal. [Eur. Hist.: Leach, 561]
K’ung Fu
Confucian-based sect demands rigid tests for membership. [TV: Terrace, I, 448]
ordeal by fire
noble accused of crime holds red-hot iron or walks blindfolded and barefoot over red-hot plowshares to prove his innocence. [Br. Hist.: Brewer Handbook, 779]
solver of riddles wins Turandot; failure brings death. [Ital. Opera: Puccini, Turandot, Westerman, 367–368]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The process of exercising a product to identify differences between expected and actual behaviour. Typically testing is bottom-up: unit testing and integration testing by developers, system testing by testers, and user acceptance testing by users.

Test coverage attempts to assess how complete a test has been.

2. The second stage in a generate and test search algorithm.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)

testing types

Following is a summary of the various tests that are performed on new and revised hardware and software. Testing is a critical part of the development of internal information systems as well as commercial software, and it is often not given the attention it deserves.

Software vendors that provide critical infrastructure such as operating systems have managed to relegate a great amount of testing to thousands of their users, who, looking forward to improvements in the next version of the critical products they use, are more than willing to try out buggy software and report problems.

Following is a summary in alphabetical order of the types of testing that are performed.

Acceptance Test
The test performed by users of a new or changed system in order to approve the system and go live. See user acceptance test.

Active Test
Introducing test data and analyzing the results. Contrast with "passive test" (below).

Ad Hoc Test
Informal testing without a test case.

Age Test (aging)
Evaluating a system's ability to perform in the future. To perform these tests, hardware and/or test data are modified to a future date.

Alpha Test
The first testing of a product in the lab. Then comes beta testing. See alpha test.

Automated Test
Using software to test software. Automated tests may still require human intervention to monitor stages for analysis or errors.

Beta Test
Testing by end users. Follows alpha testing. See beta test.

Black Box Test
Testing software based on output only without any knowledge of its internal code or logic. Contrast with "white box test" and "gray box test."

Dirty Test
Same as "negative test."

Environment Test
A test of new software that determines whether all transactions flow properly between input, output and storage devices. See environment test.

Functional Test
Testing functional requirements of software, such as menus and key commands. See functional test.

Fuzz Test
Testing for software bugs by feeding it randomly generated data. See fuzz testing.

Gray Box Test
Testing software with some knowledge of its internal code or logic. Contrast with "white box test" and "black box test."

Negative Test
Using invalid input to test a program's error handling.

Passive Test
Monitoring the results of a running system without introducing any special test data. Contrast with "active test" (above).

Recovery Test
Testing a system's ability to recover from a hardware or software failure.

Regression Test
To test revised software to see if previously working functions were impacted. See regression testing.

Smoke Test
Turn it on and see what happens. See smoke test.

System Test
Overall testing in the lab and in the user environment. See alpha test and beta test.

Test Case
A set of test data, test programs and expected results. See test case.

Test Scenario
A set of test cases. See test scenario.

Test Suite
A collection of test cases and/or test scenarios. See test suite.

Unit Test
A test of one component of the system. Contrast with "system test."

User Acceptance Test (UAT)
See "acceptance test" above.

White Box Test
Testing software with complete knowledge of its internal code and logic. Contrast with "black box test" and "gray box test."
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