Testing: school year? or age?

Email of the Day:
Regarding annual testing, does it go with the school year or age? For instance, my child’s birthday is in the spring, so I did not test him last year because we did not have to send in a Declaration of Intent until May. Now he is 8, so we sent in the Declaration at the start of the school year. Most testing seems to be done in spring, but does he need to be tested at each age year, meaning do I need a test score for age 8, or will it matter if his first test score isn’t taken until May, but he will have turned 9 by then? All the area standardized test dates fall after his birthday, so should I have him tested privately while he is still 8, and then just be sure he has a test for each age year afterwards? I hope that was not terribly unclear. Perhaps more clearly the question is must I have a test score starting at age 8 and for every age beyond?

The law is not particularly enlightening on this topic, as it says, “Ensure that a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education is administered annually to the child by a qualified individual or that an annual assessment of the student’s academic progress is written by a certificated person who is currently working in the field of education.”

Since his birthday isn’t until May, you technically didn’t have to send in a Declaration of Intent in the spring of 2015. I agree with you that you did not have to test for school year 2014-15.

In general, you should test somewhere between the 15th of September (after you turn in your Declaration of Intent) and the following 14 September (right before you turn in the next one).

The test or assessment exists for two reasons:
1) To give you an external metric.
2) To give to a school if you transfer to one, for them to have an external metric.

If you use a test (rather than an assessment), I should note that most are normed to be given in the spring of the year of the name of the test — so a 3rd grade test assumes that you’re taking it in the spring (at the end) of 3rd grade. There are a few testing services that norm for other times of the year.

Part of the question here is why are you doing the test or assessment?
If you’re doing it strictly to be in compliance with the law, I would choose the cheapest option you can find. We did it for that plus practice on standardized tests, so the SAT or ACT wouldn’t be the first time our daughter filled in the dot and made her mark heavy and dark. We generally did the test later in the summer, after the rush.
Do you want to know where you kid is relative to kids of the same age in school? Then testing between April and June is probably best. Or choosing an assessment might be the right way to go.

Think about what you want to get out of it, aside from being compliance with the law, and progress accordingly.

–Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair