To Test or Not to Test?

If you live in a state where standardized testing is optional you may have asked yourself whether to test or not to test your children. I live in Ohio, we have two options for assessment each year we can give our children a standardized test, or opt for a teacher evaluated portfolio review. I have done both, and we honestly prefer testing. I know some cringe at that word, and that’s fine, but if you are on the fence here are some things to consider when wondering if you should test or not.

Your Child: Some kids are great testers, some stress out over the idea of taking a test. Some children have no problems with tests; they consider them fun, or a challenge. Some children are laid back, and don’t mind either way. When deciding whether you should test, your children consider your child.

Your Schedule: If you test, how many children will you be testing? Do you have the time to take a week and focus on testing your children? Do you have a new baby or a demanding toddler? Are your children independent and can they manage testing on their own? Consider your schedule before you decide to test.

Are You Okay With the Results?: Overall homeschooled children do outstanding on standardized testing. However, are you okay if they don’t? We have tested numerous times, and overall my children do great. However, one year one of my children scored a lot lower than I thought she would in one subject. I was crushed. I blamed myself, and we revaluated our whole curriculum in that subject. The next time we tested, she still scored low in that area. I had to realize that out of the nine areas she tested in it was okay that she scored lower in one. She is allowed to struggle with something. Make sure you are okay with the results no matter which way they go.

If you are still on the fence about testing let me give you some pros and cons I have found from standardized testing.  The biggest pro in my opinion is validation. I like knowing my children test well, and when someone questions me about homeschooling, I can say, “Well, they score very well on their tests each year, so I am pretty sure they are ok”. Now, I know how they are doing without a test, but some people really consider a standardized test the gold standard of academic assessment, so for me the validation is nice. I also like knowing how they are doing overall, and testing is a lot easier than keeping a portfolio all year. I also like that they will be used to tests before they take the ACT, or another college entrance exam.

There are two big cons in my opinion on testing. One is the price, and the other is time. We order our tests through family learning organization and considering I have multiple children to test, the price is a little high. I also don’t like taking a whole week just to stay home and test.

If you have been asking yourself whether you should test, just remember that testing is not for every family. Yes, there are pros, but there are also cons. Consider your schedule, your child and whether or not you are okay with the results. Whether or not you test, you will know how your child is learning, but for some testing is another good assessment option.

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

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