View Full Version : Weekly Poll: What are your experiences with standardized testing?

03-24-2010, 03:20 PM
I just received my oldest son's standardized test in the mail, which our state requires be administered annually, and it got me to thinking. How do other homeschoolers - - especially secular homeschoolers - -approach the testing issue, if at all. So let's discuss it!

Weigh in on this week's poll.

03-24-2010, 05:16 PM
Maryland doesn't require you to take standardized tests, but my daughter isn't old enough for me to worry about it anyway. As of right now I think I'd probably have her take it, but I'm not sure how I'll feel when she's old enough.

03-24-2010, 05:53 PM
In Florida homeschoolers don't have to take the FCAT but they have to submit a portfolio for annual evaluation or an evaluation by a child psychologist unless they register through an umbrella school. Then they technically become private school students instead of "homeschoolers" (as per the Florida definition of "homeschoolers") and private schools do not have to administer the FCAT. I chose to register through an umbrella school to avoid both the evaluation and the FCAT so if Noah wanted to participate in any school sports or music classes, he would NOT be eligible. I might change to the full homeschooler status when he enters 6th grade so he can access those resources at the middle school that is just down the street from my house.

03-24-2010, 07:10 PM
Virginia requires homeschoolers to take standardized tests each year once they are 6 years old and up. I know that a lot of peple don't like that we HAVE to take the tests, but I really don't care. I know what my son knows or doesn't know. i am confident that he can read and do 1st grade math. I am going to look at this test as a test of ME--am I dong my job? I know I am, so...so what? Personally, I think this is a waste of time. Unfortunately, I am sure that there are some HS people out there who don't do the minimum requirements.

03-24-2010, 07:38 PM
I'm with a charter school in CA, so James will be taking the state testing, same as any other public school student (except he'll be testing in a church, so maybe there's hope for divine intervention ;) ). I'm not worried about the material, but I do think there's a good chance of panic, unusual environment, strange format, anxiety prone child. But, hopefully, the material will be so easy (which I suspect it will), it will give him more confidence for these kinds of situations in the future. If only they had a play time after . . .

03-24-2010, 07:42 PM
Testing is only one of the options here in IA for evaluation and we choose a different route, so it won't be required for us. They start offering testing in third grade here and none of my children have been old enough to take the tests yet, but my oldest will be old enough next year. I am honestly curious how my children would do on the tests, but I also know it's not really important. Next year I will give my oldest the choice to take them or not.

03-24-2010, 08:56 PM
Just realized I left a really important option out of the poll. Should have included:
"Our state/country requires homeschoolers to be tested regularly, and we RELUCTANTLY comply."
Dang! Now I've got to check "Other"!

NC requires annual testing and I hate it. It makes us miserable around here during testing week. And because the test has to be sent off for scoring, it makes my son anxious about knowing how he did. Blech!!

03-24-2010, 10:21 PM
Here in Texas, we are not required to participate in the standardized testing and since it was the MAIN reason that we decided to homeschool, we don't. My son spent all of his 2nd & 3rd grade years getting ready for a 60 question test that he passed 100% and learned practically nothing else in the process! Not that I'm bitter or anything :)

03-25-2010, 01:16 PM
Oregon requires testing at the end of 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th grades. However, you only send in the results if the school district asks you to. If a child has any kind of LD, you can write up a PDP (personalized development play - basically the same thing as an IEP in the public schools) and skip all of the testing.

03-25-2010, 11:00 PM
Lexi, I hate to disagree, but Virginia absolutely does NOT require testing. Virginia requires proof of progress. That can be a nationally normed test, OR a report by a teacher certified in any state, stating that the child has made adequate progress. Some districts will also accept portfolios, but they are not required to.

I know that most people go for the testing option. Some school districts allow home schoolers to take tests at the school, but most parents, as far as i can tell, use the CAT test through Seton testing - which i hear is a version from the 70s?

I got a notice that my 8th grader was being offerred the chance to take the stanford 10 through our school district, and I seriously considered it - he always did well on testing, and it would be interesting to see. But many people on my local lists discouraged me from it - after all, its a half hour drive or more, and on their schedule - much easier to do the CAT at home - and its only $25, and YOU get the results, not the school - so if there is a problem, you can retake the test, or find an evaluator.

But yes, i plan to order the tests . . . um . . soon. Was planning on doing that this month!

and back to the idea behind the poll - i used to like standardized testing because my kids do so well on them . . . but i'm starting to really understand the concept that a breadth of topics, a love of learning, and the ability to question is a loftier goal than testing well.

03-26-2010, 07:55 AM
Our state doesn't require testing but I have though about doing it. But I don't because my child is test-phobic.

03-26-2010, 12:49 PM
Thank goodness Florida offers many options to show yearly progress! We have used teacher evals for all of our 12 years of homeschooling (same teacher, too, which is really great.) I don't believe you can assess a child's progress just by the results of a standardized test. Great poll!

03-26-2010, 04:55 PM
Lexi, I hate to disagree, but Virginia absolutely does NOT require testing. Virginia requires proof of progress. That can be a nationally normed test, OR a report by a teacher certified in any state, stating that the child has made adequate progress. Some districts will also accept portfolios, but they are not required to.

Um...ok! I just know that I got a card from my county that states: "The Commonwealth of VA requires that students participating in home based instruction submit standardized test results, to the School Board by August 1."

I had heard about portfolios and independent screening, but never really looked into it.

Again, I don't really see the point, but I also don't see the harm in testing (CAT, Iowa, or any other).

BTW--I blogged about this here (http://paojava.blogspot.com/2010/02/free-books-and-homeschool-rant.html).

03-26-2010, 05:41 PM
Lexi, as a member of the VA Homeschoolers, I would definitely let them know about this post card. They work with the districts to make sure that the districts understand the law and do not send out misleading information. They arent required to let you test at the schools, but it is really wrong that they send out a notice with incorrect information about homeschooling requirements on it.

03-26-2010, 05:42 PM
Hey Lexi, don't know what the situation is in your state but I think that a good rule of thumb is to never trust what the county is telling you. You should read the applicable VA Homeschooling laws and only go by that. A lot of times county personnel either do not understand the law or try to bully you into conforming to what THEY think you should be doing. Is there a VA Homeschool group that deals with legal issues that could
clarify this for you? Also I know that in FL there is a home education coordinator who works in the state's education department.

04-19-2010, 12:28 PM
New Hampshire requires either a standardized test or a portfolio evaluation by a certified teacher every year. Partly due to my own insecurity as a first year home educator, I plan to do both (this year at least). I think the standardized testing will help me see how my son measures up against others (though I do recognize the limitations of this type of testing-the fact that it is (to use a photographic analogy) just a "snapshot" rather than a "movie" and only gets a picture at one moment in time; that results can be skewed by test-taking anxiety, lack of sleep, an "off" day, etc.), but I believe that the portfolio evaluation will help me to better understand how I'm doing as an educator, as much as how my son is doing as a student.

I have just ordered the PASS test for my son, which I have heard is designed for homeschoolers and is a good one to use. I'd be interested in hearing other peoples' experience with this test (or others for that matter).

04-19-2010, 01:08 PM
With CroppinMom, we don't have to do any sort of testing but I do plan on having him mildly ready in case he ever wants/needs to go back into public school. As he gets older, if we're still going strong in homeschooling, I might have him take one every now and again just to get someone else's opinion of where he's at, but until we start prep for college, I won't be focusing anymore on it than that.

04-19-2010, 02:38 PM
We are a part of a homeschooling program through the public school system that requires us to take all the same tests public students do. By complying with this and some other rules we are eligible to receive funding toward curriculum and classes.

04-20-2010, 09:12 AM
Indiana does not require any standardized testing. However, on our own, we had them take one about 4 years ago, but haven't since then. Their next ones will probably be PSAT, SAT, and/or ACT in a couple of years.

04-20-2010, 10:10 AM
Inmom, I just copied an interesting article yesterday about "PSAT/SAT/ACT & National Merit" that was written by Jeannette Webb for Practical Homeschooling, in the July/August 2008 issue. I couldn't find it online, but if your library carries that magazine, it might be of interest to you. This is NOT a secular magazine, though, so be forewarned, however that particular article is totally secular.

04-20-2010, 03:38 PM
We're required to take tests but, DD is still too young.

04-20-2010, 06:09 PM
Cut and pasted from my blog, a conversation DS and I had about testing this week:

”Don’t you even care about doing well on this test.”

“No, I just want to learn.”

04-20-2010, 07:26 PM
Cut and pasted from my blog, a conversation DS and I had about testing this week:

”Don’t you even care about doing well on this test.”

“No, I just want to learn.” Oh, I just love this :)

04-29-2010, 12:55 PM
Washington State requires yearly testing but you are not required to share the results with anyone. I don't mind it, I figure at some point the kids will have to take tests so it's good practice. I don't make a big deal about it and the boys have been fine with it.

08-10-2010, 11:06 AM
I'm NOT new to HSing but I am new to the required testing. We move a lot for DH's job. I'm from Indiana, no req's except registration (gotta love that!) We've also lived in Florida (portfolio's? Where did I put the dang things at!!!) Tennessee just registration TY! and now North Carolina. I'm a little concerned with this testing thing. I got my little info packet from the state today, it's a bit confusing (on purpose I think!) but the gist of it is that yes they have to test but I can give them the test at home. They paper work SUGGESTS that someone else does it but if I don't have to put my test phobic son through that ordeal I'm not going to (DD is so easygoing no worries there). Anyone else here from NC? If so how do you test, at home, through a center or another option?