This Is A Test, This Is Only a Test

ScantronThis year our family is embarking upon a new adventure and exploring uncharted territory. We are tackling the great, unknown world of standardized testing!

Our homeschool PSP requires that all children who are in 7th grade through 11th grade be tested. It was highly suggested though, that we test them a year earlier than 7th so that the kids become familiar with the process and are therefore less stressed when it actually “matters”.

Our oldest girl has finally reached the age where testing is on the horizon, so we are going to have her start this year, as she is in 6th grade, and hopefully better prepare her for what is ahead. The current curriculum we use has periodic tests to help us asses how much she is retaining and progressing, but this will be something entirely different; the tests are much longer and will be timed.

It seems that within the homeschooling world there is an internal debate about whether our children should receive these test or not. There are battles on both ends of the argument and both sides are vehement about where they stand.

Personally, my husband and I have no problem with the tests. At some point our children might want to go to college. If they plan to go, they will need to take tests both before being accepted and during their courses. At some point our children will get jobs. Most companies require some sort of exam before offering employment. Having our children take standardized tests now will better assist us in preparing for their future, both by helping them overcome any fears of testing and also by helping them become familiar with the testing process. We feel our children are well taught and “T” will have few problems with the coming exams. It is simply a way of assessing our current learning and evaluating which areas might need a little more assistance.

I am not “prepping” her for the tests, nor are we anxious about how she will do. The Lord was very clear about the methods and curriculum that are currently in progress. Knowing that we are following His instructions gives us the confidence of going into those tests, believing that He will use them to only further our goals.

🔔Time to Chime In: How do you feel about standardized testing?

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16 thoughts on “This Is A Test, This Is Only a Test

  1. For our older children, standardized testing was fine. Our youngest son, however, does not test well. The environment is difficult for home schooled children, unless they regularly participate in a classroom setting, being directed by strangers, and undergo some sort of timed evaluation. All my children tested well above grade average because most home schooled children get more time with each subject than publicly-schooled children do. (Most of us homeschooling parents feel impelled to complete a textbook, whereas public school teachers don’t worry about it; they teach to the tests). There has to be some sort of way to measure the information a child knows, to compare them to other children, and to verify they are within a certain scholastic standard; I understand that. And I have no issue with children competing for grades. I do, however, have issues with assumptions that all children can function in a testing environment and that if a student does not work out well with testing or has problems completing testing in allotted time frames or in a particular manner, they are considered sub-par. My youngest son had that problem. But when he was tested separately in subjects they thought he was failing, he actually tested well above average and in the genius category most times, but just not the way the standardized tests are performed. Just be on the lookout for the exceptions to their rules. We raise exceptional children, who are usually well outside the norm….most standardized testing isn’t prepared for that! Good luck….prayers for success!

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    • Thank you for that awesome perspective! I have known some children to not test well and, I agree, these tests don’t really help us to evaluate them. I wish there was a better way to assess a child’s knowledge.
      I appreciate your input and will definitely be keeping an eye out.
      Thanks!

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  2. In general, testing is fine. We are only obligated to a few select years by law, but we test every year to stay familiar with it. Most of my kids test well; one specifically tests ridiculously well (yet I don’t find her specifically more brilliant than the other kids), and one of my kids tested very poorly every.single.year (yet I didn’t find him less knowledgeable than the others). It’s kind of a one size must fit all scenario, so we simply use it as guide in our academics, nothing more nor less. Good luck

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    • Thanks for sharing your story. I pretty much plan to do what you do, use it as a guide for which areas seem to be in need. I have even explained to by daughter that this is more of a test on how mommy is teaching, rather than on her; this took some of the pressure off.

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  3. In NY our kids have to be tested every other year starting in 5th grade. We have no choice. I always get them test prep booklets so that they have an idea of what will be expected of them. BTW, I am curious. What is a homeschool PSP anyway?

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  4. Our testing is done in a group setting. We all get together and put the children in the proper age groups and the parents administer the tests in a timed manner, usually over a three day period. My fourth grader and ninth grader have done it this way for two years now and we always enjoy it. I have a first grader that will take it next year for the first time and I suspect that he will not be the best test taker, just from his tests here at home, but with the Lord’s help, he will do fine. I love what you said in your post about the Lord’s plans for your curriculum. God bless.

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    • Our PSP pretty much sets things up in a similar manner. We divide the children by grade and then administer the tests to each group separately. It usually takes us several days to work through the process.
      As it seems to be working so well with your group, I find this highly encouraging!

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  5. (P)rivate (S)chool Satellite (P)rogram, wherein your homeschool is a satellite of a private school in which multiple families come under a single affidavit. This provides accountability for the families involved. The Private school will either provide the curriculum or will support whatever curriculum you choose.

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  6. I agree with the others about testing not being for every child, and it is standardised to fit the school. In principle I don’t have a problem with testing older children (for us in South Africa I would recommend from gr.7 or 8), but younger than that … no I don’t agree with it.
    And with regards to being tested when you go for interviews, at universities, colleges, etc. a properly set up interview would work much better, but because it takes time which most people don’t want to spend, they prefer paper tests.
    But, that is how 70% of the world works.

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  7. In Illinois, standardized tests aren’t required. However, some homeschooling parents still get their kids tested. I do it periodically–every two years or so. Each time, God has blessed my son to do well.

    If you’re teaching your children well, I don’t view testing as absolutely necessary, and all children don’t test well, despite their knowledge base. However, I would say testing does prepare them for future experiences, i.e., college entrance exams, employment tests, mid-term and final exams, etc. Homeschool testing is excellent preparation.

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  8. I don’t think our state requires them and Michael is really young so I haven’t thought about it. I do wonder how we will do grades once he’s signed up under an umbrella school. I am very laid back with grading and if Michael has issues with something we just keep learning it until he knows it. We started early so I’m not stressed to keep up. We also school year round so there’s always time. Next year we will have to turn in progress reports. So I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Prayers for your kiddos and tests. 🙂 ((hugs))

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  9. I think high stakes testing are a TERRIBLE idea, but testing skills are exactly that, skills. I also disagree with any testing at all for 3rd grade and below. Testing can really only give you a snapshot of what someone knows that day. If I’m ill or sleep deprived or have other big things on my mind, I’m less likely to be in a head space that will allow me to be articulate and clearly communicate the knowledge I do have. The same goes for kids. I would prefer our schools to move towards more meaningful assessment and use tests as one of a number of ways to see how children are progressing (I live in Canada). 🙂

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  10. I understand your reasons and agree with your perspective, however, I find them deeply problematic. They’re shown by research (that I don’t have to hand at this moment) to be a deeply flawed, to favour middle class cultural capital and to depend heavily on interpretation. This article from Time Magazine is interesting – http://ideas.time.com/2012/10/11/why-its-time-to-get-rid-of-standardized-tests/

    For your situation, you need T to take the test but I lament our cultures’ (both US and Australia) emphasis on one-size-fits-all assessment.

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    • Trust me, this issue has been a hot topic of debate among us adults. Several of my husband’s family members are part of a local school district and they can’t stand these tests.
      We constantly go rounds about how the educational department could be doing things so much better and how much money is being wasted.
      Thank you for the link, I am sure it will make for an interesting read.

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