Testing and Assessment

Email of the Day:
I have to say I am anti testing. I can see exactly where my children learning abilities and growths are in so many other ways. I don’t even want to put him through this useless test but nonetheless. I just want all info. The testing will it be reported to anyone or for my own records? What will it be on and if my son has an IEP will testing modifications be upheld. How long do you hold onto this information?

You can choose, each year, between a test or an assessment. You could homeschool K-12 and never do a single test, if you so chose. In either case, the test or assessment scores are for your records. If you transfer to a school, they may ask for them, but if you homeschool all the way through, they’re just for you. I (literally) have test scores in my file cabinet that I received back from the testing company and never opened.

If you have an IEP in place, you can of course use the testing modifications for your testing. You may, as a homeschooler, use testing modifications even without a formal IEP. Say, for example, that you have a 12yo who is, because of h** learning delays, is developmentally doing 2nd grade work. You wouldn’t give that child a 6th or 7th grade test, you’d test at h** level of 2nd grade. You might, for different children, do time-and-half, double time, reading the test out to the child, etc.

We’re with our kids 24/7/365 — we know exactly how they are doing, and we don’t need an external metric to tell us that — and it’s frustrating when our kids are differently-abled and the tests are just an exercise in frustration.

Part of the puzzle here is the answer to this question: Why are you doing the test or assessment?
Your answer might be solely: because I am required by law to do so. In that case, choose the easiest, cheapest test or assessment you can find that wastes the least amount of your time and money.
You might, like we did, also want your child to have some familiarity with the standardized test format (we planned for her to take the SAT or ACT) — in which case, you’ll want to choose a test.
You might want to see how your child is performing relative to public school children, in which case you might choose to phone your school in late September and plan to test with the public schools.
You might want some expert input on how your child is doing, in which case you might want to hire a special ed. teacher or a certificated professor at your local college to perform an assessment.

The test or assessment scores should be made part of your child’s permanent records, and held until *he is 18 or you move away from WA. If you homeschool all the way through, like mine, they’ll just languish in your file cabinet. And that’s okay.