Do you do standardized testing in your homeschool? Many states require testing if you homeschool. In our state, Indiana, that is not a requirement. However, it is something that you may want to consider if you have never done standardized testing with your kids.
Standardized testing provides your child with the opportunity to experience a testing atmosphere without the pressure of the scores affecting them, per se. They get to experience how a test works, what it’s like to test in a “testing” situation, and think about questions they may not have been presented before.
One of the reasons that we tested last year was not only to allow our daughter the opportunity to experience testing, which is something she is most likely to be exposed to at the high school level when preparing for college and taking college entrance exams, but also to see how we are doing.
Though I put little weight in meeting “core standards” etc, there is something to be said for seeing those scores and seeing where your child performs among his national peers. In fact, we mostly did testing for me. I wanted to see if there were any “glaring” areas I had missed.
Therefore, standardized testing can provide a way to see how your homeschool is doing on the whole. You can see if there are any areas where you may need to work on for the next year.
If you have a husband that could be transfered, liked mine, having some standardized testing scores on file could be advantageous in the long run should we be transferred to a state that requires some documentation of grades, tests, or testing in their state. Though at the present we do not intend to test annually, having some tests on file, I feel, is good in case we do transfer to a more stringent homeschooling state in the future.
One of the most common concerns of homeschooling parents is that they aren’t “doing enough” or “getting it right.” Standardized testing can provide you the breathing room you may need. You may find out that your kids are right on track or even excelling in areas that you did not even realize – that is compared to the national standards. Though we felt that we were behind in one particular area when we took a test last year, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that she tested average for her grade in that area and far above in the other areas. This provided me a little relief as we entered the next year of homeschooling.
Many states allow homeschooling families to participate in public school testing. Other states have homeschooling co-ops that provide standardized testing for their group. For instance, Classical Conversations is a national organization and they provide testing services in most states (you can visit their website at www.classicalconversations.com to see if there is testing in your area.)
If you do not have these options near you and are interested in testing, you can even do testing at home with your family or get together with another family and set up testing. Testing services provided through homeschooling curriculum companies like Bob Jones University offer testing administrator qualifications on their websites and, once you have gone through the process, you can administer the test yourself (if you meet the qualifications). This is a great way for you to be able to test if you live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of testing services available to homeschoolers.
Do you do standardized testing in your homeschool? How do you use the results?