From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


4/19/2012 9:55:34 AM
Vicki Bentley--HSLDA
Toddlers to Tweens--From East to West, Which Test is Best?

HSLDA's Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens Newsletter
April 2012 -- From East to West, Which Test is Best?

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Dear Friend,

One of the most frequent questions I get about testing is,

"Which test should I use?
Which one is best?
How do I choose
From the CAT, SAT, MAT, or the Iowa Test?"

Well, maybe not in Seussical style, but you get the idea! The CAT (The
California Achievement Test), SAT (Stanford 9/10), Metropolitan
Achievement Test (MAT), and Iowa Test of Basic Skills ... these are
just a few of the many options available to home-educating parents for
assessment of progress. How's a parent to choose? Here are a few tips
to help you decide.

What is your purpose in testing? If you are testing as a diagnostic
tool, for assessment or placement, you'll want a test that gives
fairly comprehensive results. If you are testing only to have a score
to submit to satisfy statutory requirements, the basic composite score
may be sufficient for you. At our site, you'll find a list of
commonly used tests; many offer sample results reports so you can get
an idea of what information you'll receive back.

Will any statutory requirements influence your needs? In most
cases--unless specified otherwise in your state's requirements--the
basic battery of language arts and math is sufficient and will give
you a basic battery composite score. Unless your state law mandates testing in the
content areas of social studies or science, it is not generally
advisable to spend your time or money on that optional portion of a
test. Your child may or may not have studied the same content in
social studies and science as the norm group--as opposed to language
arts and math, which are skills subjects and usually track similarly
from curriculum to curriculum. When in doubt, members should consult
their HSLDA legal staff.

Which test is the best fit for your child? Consider the format that
will best reflect your child's true progress: While a visual learner may test well on paper using
the fill-in-the-circles format, a hands-on or auditory learner may be better assessed by an
evaluation or a test utilizing personal interaction, such as the
Woodcock-Johnson, WRAT, or Brigance, rather than a paper-and-pencil
test. In the latter case, some parents choose to administer a
paper-and-pencil standardized test earlier in the season, leaving time
for a follow-up interactive test if the results don't match what
they've witnessed in his day-to-day progress. Another option is to
choose an untimed test to reduce testing anxiety.

Will a placement test be sufficient for our needs? If you are testing
for placement purposes only and do not need to submit scores, consider
a placement test, online assessment, or a scope-and-sequence checklist as a gauge of milestones

Do I have other options? If your statute allows for alternative
methods of assessment, consider an evaluation or portfolio assessment standardized testing is not
your preference. As always, you'll want to consider any legal
requirements before proceeding. If you will use an outside evaluator,
it is helpful to contact her well in advance to be aware of any
paperwork she'll want you to save for her consideration during the

Check out the Toddlers to Tweens pages for more information on
testing, including an updated list of suggested test sources, how to
prepare for the test, and how to interpret the scores.

Remember that a test or evaluation is just one "snapshot" of his
academic progress and of your child as a person. He is more than the
sum of his test results! This time of year can be a wonderful reminder
to thank God for this uniquely gifted child He has given you--and to
trust Him to continue to guide your choices and approaches.

Enthusiastically yours,
Vicki Bentley


"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
--Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

Additional Resources

"Testing, Evaluations, and Portfolios" (HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens

"What Achievement Tests Can and Cannot Do" (Teaching Home

"Seven Test Taking Skills to Teach Your Child" by Cindy Short and Sue

"Evaluating Progress" by Kara Murphy Subscribe to Kara's
newsletter here )

Evaluating for Excellence by Teresa Moon

"They're Learning!" by Rachel Ramey

For more information on testing, including an updated list of
suggested test sources, visit the Early Years pages.

Custom Test

A new option: The ACSI/SAT Custom-Made Test

The Association of Christian Schools International, in cooperation
with the developers of the Stanford Achievement Test series, has
introduced a special Christian School Edition of the Stanford
Achievement Test. The core questions provide the link to the national
norms of Stanford-9. (Read more.)
(From The Teaching Home magazine )

It's convention season!

"10 Ways to Get the Most From Homeschool Events" (Teaching Home
e-magazine, February 2012)

"How to Get the Most from Your Homeschool Convention" (Vicki Bentley)

Find an event near you.

Poetry Contest--Cash Prizes!

HSLDA is excited to announce our 8th annual poetry contest! This
contest is designed to give students the opportunity to develop their
writing and poetic skills and showcase their talents at the same time.
Cash prizes are awarded to the top five entries in each category, and
the winning poems will be posted online.

For more information about the contest, please visit our contest page!

-> Can you look at the clouds and tell the direction of the wind?

An interesting phenomenon of wind is that it can blow in multiple
directions at the same time, at different heights from the ground.
But usually there is a prevailing wind. HSLDA watches the gusts
and monitors the prevailing trends of change in the legal climate
of home education. So no matter which way the wind is blowing,
we're there to protect your family.

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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