Shhh... It's Homeschool Testing Time!
Like public and private schools, Spring marks the start of homeschool testing season. Standardized testing, however, is not a requirement for every student schooling at home, as it is for students who attend government-funded schools.
Some states require home educators to administer standardized tests to their children, but many states do not. Currently less than half of the US states mandate standardized testing for homeschooled students.
If you live in a state that requires standardized testing, make sure you familiarize yourself with the testing guidelines and regulations.
Some homeschool parents do not administer any tests to elementary-aged children – standardized or curriculum-based.
Once I gave my two oldest a standardized test when they were in third and sixth grade, respectively, just to ease my own worries. Both did extremely well and proved to me that formal curriculum isn't necessary to achieve educational success.
Tests and the development of good test-taking skills become more important as students prepare for college-level work.
Reasons for Testing
Parents choose to test their children for a variety of reasons. If you live in a state that requires the submission of standardized test scores, then you test because you have to.
Some parents test because they want to and that's okay too. Tests aren't all bad. Properly given, tests can provide a lot of good information for homeschooling parents. You will discover:
- You are doing a great job.
- Weak areas in your child's education.
- Areas where your child excels.
- Where to focus your attention.
Some Reasons for Not Testing
Just as there are good reasons for testing your children, there are also many reasons for not testing, especially young children who aren't developmentally ready.
Young children usually don't understand the importance of tests.
Over the years when I have tried to give my kids tests on different occasions, it hasn't always gone well – for the test-giver, or the "testee". My girls have played games, pretended not to know the answer or not understood the question. Test-time usually ended in frustration and really didn't serve any purpose.
Tests can put unnecessary pressure on young children.
Some children may refuse to or become disinterested in learning because tests can make learning seem like a chore. Other children react by becoming over-achievers or perfectionists because they think they are failures if they do poorly on tests.
When I was in school, I hated taking tests. Because I put an undo amount of pressure on myself to achieve high marks, exam time was extremely stressful for me. Although I didn't experience any severe anxiety-related symptoms like nausea or throwing up, I did get nervous and on some exams – like Math, my mind would go completely blank.
Tests often dictate what is taught.
Instead of following your child's natural interests and curiosity, we can overlook what they are interested in, in order to prepare them for the upcoming test. Placing too much importance on tests can easily squelch a child's excitement for learning.
In lieu of written tests, our kids would work on and share in-depth projects with the rest of the family. From their enthusiastic presentations, I could tell they were learning - often they studied above and beyond a typical scope and sequence for a subject or grade.
Standardized Tests for Homeschooling
If your state requires standardized testing, you can easily find the required test you need to take and other homeschool testing information by visiting your state's website.
Below, I've listed ten popular achievement tests that parents use when assessing their homeschooled children:
1. Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
2. California Achievement Test (CAT)
3. Stanford Achievement Test (SAT)
4. Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT)
5. Tests of Achievement and Proficiency (TAP)
6. TerraNova/Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS)
7. Comprehensive Testing Program (CTPIII)
8. Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT)
9. Peabody Individual Test (PIAT)
10. Woodcock Johnson Revised Tests of Achievement
Purchasing Tests and Testing Services
You can purchase tests and testing services from companies that specialize in homeschool testing.
A trusted and reliable source in the homeschool community is BJU (Bob Jones University) Press. BJU Press has been providing testing materials and services to homeschoolers for twenty-five years and they are fully authorized by test publishers.
BJU's Homeschool Testing and Evalution Services
Fully authorized by test publishers, Bob Jones Homeschooling Tests and Evaluation Services help you assess and measure your child's knowledge and skills, and better meet their needs.
Bob Jones (BJU) offers a Fall discount of 10% off all tests ordered and shipped between September 1 and November 30 and returned no later than December 31*.
Be careful! *Returned tests postmarked after December 31 will be billed for the 10% fall discount plus a $5 delinquent fee.
Learn more about Bob Jones homeschooling tests.
Homeschool Tests and Assessment Apprehension
Do homeschool tests cause your child stress? Find four simple solutions to help reduce your child's test-taking anxiety and enjoy stress-free homeschooling.
More on Home School Testing
Measuring educational progress through home school testing may not be the most accurate way to gauge learning, or your home school success.
Find out what homeschooling requirements you need to meet to homeschool your child legally.
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