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hockeymom
03-13-2014, 01:43 PM
I'm thinking about having DS take a standardized test this year (it hurts my head and heart to even consider it), and I'm hoping for some suggestions. It won't be submitted to anyone, and I want to administer it myself at home. It's purely for practice and self interest, so I really don't want to pay much for it. It doesn't even need to be an official test--are practice books representative? Can that kind of thing be found at a bookstore or online? There are so many tests out there and I'm not exactly sure what I need.

Advice? Direction?

Thanks!

ksb427
03-13-2014, 01:53 PM
Here's an article that I've bookmarked. While I'm not fond of the organization, this was really a pretty informative read.

How to Choose an Achievement Test | North Carolinians for Home Education (http://www.nche.com/article/how-choose-achievement-test)

murphs_mom
03-13-2014, 01:59 PM
Grade level(s)?

fastweedpuller
03-13-2014, 02:04 PM
I am sure you'll get a lot of responses.

I got curious so I had my daughter take the science portion of the California Standardized Test for 5th grade (at the beginning of her 4th grade year). They released a 2008 version of the test so I downloaded it as a pdf. She did surprisingly well (my hunch was she would because she's serious science nerd material). I downplayed it as a test, though.
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/documents/cstrtqscience5.pdf (https://sbacpt.tds.airast.org/student/)

Here is the portal for the other California testing. This link will take you directly to sign in as a GUEST. Once you click through, you select the grade you wish, and voila, take a test or two.
https://sbacpt.tds.airast.org/student/

hockeymom
03-13-2014, 02:04 PM
Sorry, he'd be grade 5 in ps. No idea at home! So, grade 5.

Thanks ksb--off to read!

farrarwilliams
03-13-2014, 02:58 PM
Do you want to know if he can get the questions right or how he compares to his peers? If it's the former, I think the practice test from a cheap book or even one you find online can be fine. But if you want something norm end, I'd spring for the Stanford or Iowa. Probably the Stanford.

WindSong
03-13-2014, 03:04 PM
Both of my kids took the PASS (https://www.hewitthomeschooling.com/Testing/tMain.aspx) Test. I administered it at home. This test was about half the price as some of the others. It was interesting to see how they compared to other homeschoolers in their grade as well as public school peers.

hockeymom
03-13-2014, 03:12 PM
Do you want to know if he can get the questions right or how he compares to his peers? If it's the former, I think the practice test from a cheap book or even one you find online can be fine. But if you want something norm end, I'd spring for the Stanford or Iowa. Probably the Stanford.

Just if he can get the questions right. :) Thanks.

dragonfly
03-13-2014, 03:13 PM
I used the PASS test too. It's nice because it's made for hs-ers, and it's not timed. The results tell you how strong the child is in different areas.

Keiran'sMom
03-13-2014, 03:18 PM
We have to do a test every year and submit to the school superintendent, we are looking at doing the CAT. It seemed like the one that best fit him, and I did not want to administer it myself. My BFF is a teacher so she agreed to do it, plus it was an excuse to drive the 4 hours to see them. The CAT can be done by the parents or a teacher.

ejsmom
03-13-2014, 05:13 PM
We have to submit standardized test results in grades 3, 5, and 8, in my state (which also means we HAVE to declare a 'grade' for the ps each year). We did our first testing last year. The test legally has to show results in Math and English and the parent can't give the test. I had a teacher friend be our proctor, and my dad sat with ds to read the questions/answers to him, as he had a vision issue. I used the CAT because it was cheap. The only good thing about using a standardized test IMHO is that now have CYA "proof" that he's doing well above average academically for anyone who wants to question us, and it was good practice for ds to take a test in that format. I don't want the first time he has to face testing like that (SAT's or for a job) to freak him out.

I refuse to test in any thing other than math and English because it isn't required and don't feel they show anything other than you can score whatever on THAT particular test.

dbmamaz
03-13-2014, 06:14 PM
I use the CAT too, as its cheap and easy - but . . its easy. It might not give you much information

freerangedad
03-13-2014, 08:56 PM
I think it is important that you keep in mind that the test will show how well your child takes tests, not necessarily how well they are doing at math. I only say this because I sat through a practice test with my daughter recently, and my immediate reaction was to start teaching to the test. I thought, "my daughter knows this. She just hasn't seen this type of questioning before". I quickly realized that her current studies were much more relevant than the questions on the test. We, who live in states that do not require testing, have an interesting dilemma. When do we teach our children how to take standardized tests? My conclusion; not until necessary.

hockeymom
03-14-2014, 06:29 AM
I think it is important that you keep in mind that the test will show how well your child takes tests, notnecessarily how well they are doing at math. I only say this because I sat through a practice test with my daughter recently, and my immediate reaction was to start teaching to the test. I thought, "my daughter knows this. She just hasn't seen this type of questioning before". I quickly realized that her current studies were much more relevant than the questions on the test. We, who live in states that do not require testing, have an interesting dilemma. When do we teach our children how to take standardized tests? My conclusion; not until necessary.

Thats exactly why I'm having him take one. :)

I don't expect he will test well, because of anxiety and a habit of reading way too much into questions (and generally knowing more than they are asking for, and being able to draw and argue different conclusions and...). And it's why I don't need to compare his results to other kids; it won't test his knowledge, but will provide the opportunity to start learning some testing skills. It's becoming the necessary time. :)

quabbin
03-14-2014, 06:58 PM
Practice tests are cheap. They have some here: Practice Tests :: Triangle Education Assessments, LLC (http://www.triangleeducationassessments.com/home.php?cat=264)

hockeymom
03-14-2014, 07:15 PM
That's just what I needed, quabbin. Thank you!

farrarwilliams
03-14-2014, 08:24 PM
Thats exactly why I'm having him take one. :)

I don't expect he will test well, because of anxiety and a habit of reading way too much into questions (and generally knowing more than they are asking for, and being able to draw and argue different conclusions and...). And it's why I don't need to compare his results to other kids; it won't test his knowledge, but will provide the opportunity to start learning some testing skills. It's becoming the necessary time. :)

Yes, this is exactly why we do it too. Last year when I introduced it, it was quite anxiety provoking, which sucked for everyone involved. But the way you deal with an anxiety is not to do less, but to do more. Mushroom is also scared of dogs. If he manages in the course of life to not see a dog for several weeks, that's actually really bad for us because dogs are part of everyday life and he will have to deal with one again and when he does, he'll have a panic attack. He does SO much better when he sees a dog every so often so that he doesn't have time to build up a huge fear again. So, same with tests.

Avalon
03-14-2014, 08:44 PM
Exambank has very cheap prices for online practice tests:

alberta.exambank.com
ontario.exambank.com

Most kids in schools in Alberta have access to the questions for practice. I'm thinking about getting it for my kids, mainly for practicing test-taking. I recently realized that my 11yo son has never actually written a test.

crunchynerd
03-29-2014, 11:26 AM
This is a good question, especially if you would rather not have him take any tests that will become part of his record, such as those administered by schools. I am interested in spot-checking myself, in an unofficial capacity, from time to time, and am glad to see so many suggestions.

Those test-prep workbooks they have at places like Staples, for each grade level, might be a good way to gauge, risk-free, because they have practice tests, to take, in them.
You can also get last year's test for things like math league, though those aren't indicative of any grade-level norms, but a "for fun" thing.

hockeymom
03-29-2014, 11:57 AM
That's what I ended up getting, Crunchy, a test prep book from Books A Million. And do you know, he actually likes it! Originally I was just going to have him take the tests, but he asked if he could *puhleeese* do the entire workbook? So that's how we start the mornings now! And honestly, there's some good stuff in there--a few grammar type things we haven't covered yet and so on. So it's actually been very worthwhile, if mostly because for whatever reason it's fun for him. :)

ScienceGeek
03-29-2014, 12:04 PM
CA STAR practice exams are longer than a real exam but they are good practice and they still have them online for free. I just downloaded the rest. CA has stopped using them, or at least this is the last year. We'v been required to take them since we use a Charter school so I always have the kids do the practice test a month before they take the real one - mainly so I can explain what the questions mean, it really is testing testing more than anything else. Once they understood the 'testing language' they could easily answer the questions.