Well, it’s Friday again and how did it get here so fast….wow, what a week. This week we had all kinds of craziness. We found our the dog is allergic to her food, my daughter got poison ivy, we had homeschool field day with our co-op, and we started planning for a garage sale. Oh, and we had standardized, year-end testing.
So for my Random 5 Friday post I’m going to tell you —
5 Random thing about Standardized Testing
1 – Kids Can Learn All They need without Teaching to the Test– This week we did our end of the year, standardized Stanford testing. We are NOT required by state law to test and we do not test every year but my husband and I decided early in our homeschooling journey that we would occasionally do standardized testing. Our main reason for it is that we feel it is a valuable skill to know how to take the test. It helps the student practice following directions, taking a test, and learning the critical thinking skills that comes with it. We do not STUDY for the test; we do not prepare for the test, and we do not teach to the test. We just take the test. We did the practice test this year because we chose to take the test online and had to do it in order to test our system to make sure it would work on test day. The practice test was 5 questions. That was all the prep my daughter had. (You know, other than all her regular, daily academics.) She did great. It was interesting to watch her do some of the test. I was surprised at some of what she did know and some of what she did not know. But overall it was a good experience for both of us.
2 – My Daughter is VERY Distractable– I kept the house pretty quiet overall. With a 4 year old, an 8 month old, and a dog, it was not easy to keep it quiet but I did. However, my son had a friend over and my daughter was very distracted by what they were doing outside. My mother stopped by to drop something off during the testing time (ironically) and she had a difficult time concentrating on the test until she was gone. Fortunately, since the Stanford test does not have a time requirement, if we would have required more time for her to complete the test, we would have been able to use it; however, the allotted initial time period proved to be sufficient even with a few distractions.
3 – Keeping a House Quiet CAN Happen – Shockingly, I was able to keep the house quiet during the testing period. This really was my greatest concern when deciding to do the Stanford test online. I even had a backup plan in case the little kids were too distracting but I didn’t have to. My son was actually GREAT. The weather, being good, cooperated allowing him to play outside most of the time and the baby was happy too.
4 – Test Taking Skills are Learned – One of the reasons that we do standardized testing is because we feel that there are lots of “tests” in life and it is a valuable skill to learn. Taking the time to focus on understanding the directions, following the directions, and completing a test in the time allotted is an important skill to learn. However, I found it was important to remind my daughter to read the directions completely. She is always in a rush so reminding her of this importance to read the instructions completely and thoroughly is part of the learning process for her. It was good for her to have this experience.
5 – Online is Great – This is her second time taking the Stanford test and my 3rd time proctoring it. I proctored just her with the paper version that was mailed in for her 1st grade year. Her 2nd grade year we didn’t do testing but I proctored a large group taking the Stanford test through our homeschool co-op, and then this year we participated in the Stanford online testing through Classical Conversations. I have to say, this was the best. We had to call in to a proctor for the directions but then she had the total amount of time to complete the test section. If she finished early, she could read, play, have a snack or whatever, she didn’t have to just sit in a room waiting on the rest of the class. And we didn’t have to worry about filling in colored bubbles on a page hoping to stay on the right column. By far, this was my favorite way of taking the test. We will definitely do this again in the future.
Be sure to check out more Random 5 Posts.