Evaluation can be done through verbal discussions, written assignments, hands-on projects, portfolio review, portfolders, as well as with testing. In some states, testing is required; in others it is not. Here is some information on testing in primary school, middle school, high school and for college admissions.

Give your children practice in test-taking even though it is not required. Tests are part of our culture. Children can learn to improve their test scores. Use some of the testing resources below to practice test taking.

Keep testing in perspective. Test results can be helpful, but not always accurate. Low score can mean the child had a bad test day, the subject matter was never covered, or the child has not mastered that subject.

Be careful in interpreting test scores, especially grade equivalent scores. The first number is the grade level, the second number is the month of the school year. 8.4 means the child is performing at a level equivalent to that of an average 8th grader in the fourth month of school. A score of 13.4 in math does not mean that the eighth grader can do the equivalent of a college freshman! The eighth grader has never taken college level math (trigonometry, calculus) and the eighth grade test does not cover those subjects. It only means that the student does eighth grade math extremely well.

Types of tests:

  • Norm referenced standardized tests (Stanford Achievement, Iowa Basic Skills): identify learning problems and gaps in basic knowledge.
  • Criterion-referenced standardized tests: evaluate the effectiveness of school instruction programs. These tests are designed for public schools. Criterion-referenced tests can be a problem for Christian homeschoolers as they include questions the deal with evolution as fact as well as other objectionable materials.

College Admissions and Test Preparation:

Your child will need to take either the SAT or ACT (sometimes both) to get into college. It's also helpful to have your teen take the PSAT. It may help him or her obtain financial aid. Your teen will be better prepared for these tests by using practice tests such as the ones listed below.

Your teen can also use CLEP tests to earn college credit without taking classes. In only one month, I was able to test out of U.S. History, American Government and Computer Applications using CLEP tests; and it only cost me $64/class plus $20 for Instant Cert and a few dollars more for the CLEP Practice books.) You can read about this on my blog: EmptyNestMom Goes to College.

Test Practice books and online resources:

Barron's PSAT 

Instant Cert - this is a valuable resource for practicing for college exams. It only costs $20/month and you can study for as many classes as you want.

Kaplan SAT 2011 Premier with CD-ROM 

http://www.amazon.com="">Cracking the ACT, 2011 Edition 

The CLEP History of the United States I w/CD  - there are many other titles available. You can test out of almost every freshman class using these resources. It's faster and much cheaper!

Recordkeeping - Learn more about recordkeeping, log books, and portfolios.