Should I administer standardized tests, do I have to administer standardized tests, and what tests should I give. This question addresses this issue.
Q. I just started homeschooling and my oldest child is in Kindergarten. My friend asked me what I plan to do about standardized testing. I never even considered it. So are standardized tests required for homeschooling my child, and if so when should I test them?
A. Some states require standardized testing of homeshoolers, and some don’t. You can find out if your state requires homeschoolers to take standardized tests by reading the laws for each state found out HSLDA.org. The frequency and type of standardized test is also dictated by state homeschool laws.
In my state, for example, a homeschooler must be tested using a nationally accepted test (such as CAT) every three years beginning in the third grade. You do not however need to show the test to anyone. The purpose of testing is simply evaluation.
In New York, which has much more stringent homeschooling rules, some kind of assessment must be given each year be it a norm-referenced achievement test or a written narrative assessment. In addition, beginning in the fourth grade, a standardized test must be done every other year, and in the 9th grade, standardized tests much be done yearly.
In Michigan, a state with lenient homeschool laws does not require standardized testing at all.
Even if the your state does require standardized testing every single year, you still won’t need to give a kindergartner a standardized tests. In most states, you won’t even have to register them as a homeschooler until the age of six or seven.
If your child does have to take a standardized tests, you must read your state laws to find out if they can be administered by you, or if you have to hire a certified professional. There are several organizations set up to allow homeschoolers to test their own children. Family Learning Organization, for example, sends tests to the homeschooling family for a very limited amount of time, and then they grade the tests and sends in the results.
Bob Jones University sends tests to certified testers to evaluate schools, churches, and homeschool groups.
Finally, when and if it is time to test your homeschooled student, you must decide what kind of test your child should take. Some of the more popular standardized tests for homeschoolers are the CAT (California Acheivement Test), the PASS test (developed just for homeschoolers… not all states will allow it) and the ITBS (Iowa Tests of Basic Skills). Once a student is in high school, college prep tests such as the ASVAB, PSAT, SAT, SAT II, or ACT might be sufficient.