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2/21/2013 10:54:22 AM
Vicki Bentely--HSLDA
Toddlers to Tweens--Testing Basics

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens Newsletter February
2013--Testing Basics
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Toddlers to Tweens newsletter
February 2013

Testing Basics

At this time of year, many parents are thinking about how to assess
their children's progress. It's important first of all to understand
your own state's testing requirements, if there are any.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17275 In some states the law may
require that you periodically demonstrate academic progress. Some
statutes mandate standardized testing, while others may allow for a
teacher letter or some other form of evaluation.


Even if your state's law does not dictate testing, you may want to
conduct a more formal assessment for your own purposes, whether
end-of-year proof of progress or baseline testing when removing a
child from a conventional school setting.

Consider Your Options

The method you choose for your child will depend upon your state's
legal requirements, http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17275 if
applicable, as well as your family's philosophical preference.
Consider also the format that will best reflect your child's true
progress: While a visual learner
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17276 may test well on paper, a
hands-on or auditory learner http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17277
may be better assessed by an evaluation or a test utilizing personal
interaction, rather than a paper-and-pencil test. In that case, you
might choose to administer a standardized test first, leaving time for
a follow-up if the results don't match what you've witnessed in his
day-to-day progress, or you may opt for an untimed test to reduce
testing anxiety.

Choose a Test

Standardized tests are developed by commercial test publishers to
provide a snapshot of the academic skills and abilities of a large
sampling of students of the same grade level; examples include the
Stanford, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, California Achievement Test, and
Terra Nova, to name a few. While we often think that standardized
tests indicate how our child compares academically to grade-level
expectations, they actually indicate how our child compares
academically to other kids at his grade level who took the same test
on a given date (the norming date for the specific edition of the
test).

Links to commonly used standardized tests.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17278

Which test is best? http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17279

If you need additional help choosing the test that might be most
appropriate for your needs, members may call our education consultants
for guidance.

Know the Requirements and Deadlines

If your state's laws or regulations require testing or assessments,
pay close attention to the details of those requirements; various
aspects of testing and assessment are handled differently from state
to state. If there are any deadlines, keep in mind that ordering a
test may take some time, administering it will take some time, and
getting the results back will take some time. Know which scores are
required by your state and in what format they should be reported.
Plan ahead so you aren't caught by surprise.


Let's face it--when the results come in, you often feel like those
results are yours, not your child's! So how can you lessen the
anxiety--for you and your student?

Prepare Your Student

The test will have questions ranging from below the testing grade
level to well above grade level, so it is important for your child to
understand that you do not expect him to know all the answers.
Otherwise, he may panic when he encounters material with which he is
not familiar. As parents, we must remember that if and when we test
our children in everyday studies, we do it to check that they have
learned all the material presented and we expect (hope for?) a score
of 100.

Consequently, it is critical that the child understands that we don't
expect him to know all the answers on this test, but we simply want to
find out how many he does know, that some of them
are--deliberately--too hard for him, and he should just do his best.
If a timed test is too stressful for your child, consider an untimed
test, such as the Stanford 10, or another method of assessment (if
possible).

Keep the Results in Perspective

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.

Blessings,

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens consultant

More testing resources:

> "Testing, Evaluations, and Portfolios"
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17280
> Test preparation materials and practice tests
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17281
> "Where Do You Start?" (Placement tests and other diagnostic tools)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17282
> Which test is best? http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17283
> Commonly used tests http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17284
> Test-taking skills http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17285
> Checklist for testing day http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17286
> How to interpret the test scores
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17287
> What Your Child Needs to Know When by Robin Sampson
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17293
> "They're Learning!" by Rachel Ramey
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17288
> More articles and resources
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17289

If in doubt about testing requirements for your state, check your
state statute at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17275 . Members are
always welcome to contact the HSLDA legal staff for legal
clarification or the HSLDA education consultants for practical help.

The test that matters most:

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test
yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of
course, you fail the test?" 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV 1984)
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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1938

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