Hi everyone, welcome back to another Tip Tuesday where we’re talking all about standardized testing! Yipee!
Are you excited? You should be because I’m here to encourage homeschoolers everywhere!
Testing isn’t as bad as you think, and YES YOU CAN DO IT!
Step 1: Choose Your Tests
If you hold a Bachelor’s Degree you can order the Iowa Standard Tests from BJU Press Testing. You can also order Stanford Tests from them as well. You can find more information on Test options at HSLDA Website. If you are going to do Iowa’s you need to first get approved as a test administrator. There is a Test Administrator Application link on the left sidebar of their site. For Iowa’s you’ll need to send in a copy of your Bachelor’s diploma. I faxed it over and received approval within about 10 days. Tests must be completed and returned within a certain time frame, they will give you specifics when you order.
If you don’t hold a BA you can still administer tests at home by using the CAT tests. You can purchase them from Christian Liberty Press. They are a bit shorter so they don’t take as long, and they are also a less expensive option as well!
If you don’t wish to test your kiddos at home, you will need to find a certified testing administrator in your area. You can contact BJU Press for help finding registered test administrators. Also make sure to check with local homeschool organizations they often offer group testing and discounts, in addition many umbrella schools offer testing services even if you do are not registered with them.
Tip #1 from the trenches:
If you know you are going to test this year, be proactive and set a date to order tests so they arrive close to when you finish school for the year.
Students tend to get into summer brain mode if you wait until after your school year is over, so I suggest testing some time during the last month or two of your scheduled school year while information is still fresh in their minds, and before they’ve checked out for summer!
STEP 2. Administer Tests
Read the rules for administering your test. Depending on the grade you are testing you may be required to test certain grades separately.
You’ll want to pick a well-lit spot, and provide a quiet time with little distraction. Your test will come with a suggested schedule, and for the most part we follow that. If you follow the test schedule in your book you’ll see it can take up to a week to complete the tests if you do 2-3 per day. I found my kids did better when we did a couple per day as opposed to doing them all in one day, but you could certainly choose to do that. We had “Testing Week” at our house and at the end of the week we took everyone out for ice cream to celebrate.
Tip #2 from the trenches:
Have plenty of sharpened pencils and scratch paper available before starting. I also like to set out a variety of fun snacks for everyone. And we try to add in something fun at the end of our test week, or during the week to make it more fun.
STEP 3. Send in your completed tests
You’ll want to follow all return directions for whatever tests you purchased. Flip through your test booklets and make sure there are no stray marks or incomplete dots filled in so as not to skew your results. Make sure all items to be included are sent back or your results will not be processed.
The Iowa test will require you use a service such as FedEx or UPS so the package is traceable, so just make sure that you follow the rules listed on your test.
STEP 4. File your results
If it is a required testing year for you, you’ll want to submit your test scores to the appropriate location. You will need to find out what is required in your state.
In our state, I am required to submit my testing results on odd years starting at the end of grade 3 to my local school district, or I can also submit them to an umbrella school. In some cases if you are enrolled in a public school funded options program (a.k.a. “Friday School” and the like) you are required to keep records of testing yourself.
Either way, you’ll need to find the appropriate method of submitting results for your state and follow those rules. You can get more information on your state’s requirements by contacting the Department of Education for your district.
Now that we’ve completed our first year of testing, I want to assure you that it is not as difficult as you may think it is. The tests are fairly easy to order, administer, and submit. Our kids did very well on them and it was a nice re-assurance to me that we are doing well in our decision to homeschool. I do have a few areas to work on, and that is a good thing to find out as well.
For more information on standardized testing and assessments, visit www.hslda.org
Want to see more of my Tip Tuesday Videos? Make sure to click the image below to check out all of my homeschooling tips!
For more information on homeschooling check out my Homeschooling 101: A guide to getting started!
Disclosure: I am not an attorney, nor should the information contained in this post be taken as legal advice. If you have questions regarding homeschooling in your state, please visit www.hslda.org or contact the department of education in your district.