Lions, Tigers, and Testing, Oh, my!



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Is it that time of year again, for testing....., already?   

Usually at this time of year, we were all about getting ready for our annual testing at our homeschool.

But this year, that same daughter is handling all of her testing on her own, as a sophomore in college.  This week she is busy finishing up year-end college projects, and getting ready for finals.  

When she began college, I was nervous about how it would go with her testing there. But with the practice that she had with end of the year testing in our homeschool, she was more than ready to take that on in college.

But it did not start out that way.  My daughter had a big 
fear of testing, as a kid....And we found out that we had more than one hurdle to cross re her annual assessments.... 

Our First Test-taking Experience

Relaxing at the park after testing.

Our test taking started when my daughter was 8yo, as that was what our state homeschool law required.  And it was a big challenge for us.  

We decided to do our testing at home.  I had ordered the Iowa Test of Basic Skills from BJU Press Testing Service.  It was a test that was given orally.  Then I was to send in the results to get a computer printout of the results.  


I was just learning about my daughter's difficulties with auditory processing.  So, when I read the directions out loud, she was lost. And then, traumatized, as she could not follow the oral instructions. I probably could have adjusted the test, and given the directions in writing.  But I was a newbie at this, so I sent the test back. 

So, then I looked for an assessment from a certified teacher, instead.  Either one was acceptable in our state.  Did you know that the folks at Family Learning Organization (FLO) offer teachers assessments, in addition to regular testing?  They are a homeschooling family who are based in Washington state.  I was thrilled to find them.


Family Learning Organization
Photo Credit - Family Learning Organization

FLO offers standardized assessments, including the CAT, and teacher reviewed assessments, which they have done for over twenty years. So I sent a summary of my daughter's homeschool work that year. It was reviewed by their teacher, who sent us helpful feedback on her homeschooling year.

This was just what my daughter needed!  The positive feedback, built her back up, and then she was ready, the next year, to tackle testing again.

Annual Testing at Home

For our second attempt at testing, I found a test with written instructions, called the CAT.  That stands for the California Achievement test. And then, we were ready to go!  For my daughter, having the instructions on writing was just what she needed.

We enjoyed the support and services from FLO, and the fact that we could test our daughter at home.  Many homeschoolers test in groups, organized and provided by their homeschool support groups.  But for us, testing at home was key.


Selling lemonade with dad.

Here's some links to other At-home testing options:



3.  a2zHomeschooling - a list of 10 more testing companies


What about Test Prep?

I decided to do a little test prep, the second time around, to help build up my daughter's confidence.  For this, I used Spectrum Test Prep.

Spectrum offers a nice series on test prep, for grades, 3 - 8.  I have a review of Spectrum Test Prep 3, for more info:

"....I found  SPECTRUM’S TEST PREP-Grade 3. It not only calmed her fears, but also became a nice way for our family to review what had been learned each year."



We continued to use their series each year. It helped my daughter to get used to the type of questions that were asked on standardized tests.  And it was fun for her!

Later, we found the Academic Challenge Cup by the Critical Thinking Company.  It's a video game, for test prep! 


Academic cup review


"In fact, when I got the Academic Challenge Cup out to review it this week, my daughter grabbed it, recruited my husband to join her, and they enjoyed an evening of it!  They couldn’t put it down!".....click the title about for more of my review...


In our house, we made test prep fun, and that made all the difference!  And I learned that tapping into play, can help decrease test anxiety.



And by practicing with our end of the year testing in homeschool, my daughter no longer fears tests, and is doing well with her tests at college.

What testing or assessment option do you like to use in your homeschool?  I would love to hear about that in the comments.  

Have you seen my article in the Homeschool Launch?  It's the first in a series on Growing a Leader, starting with the preschool years.....The Homeschool Launch is sponsored by Teach Them Diligently.  






Thanks for stopping by our neck of the internet woods...

Betsy




Betsy blogs at BJ's Homeschool , where she writes about high school collegeand all the fun of homeschooling the early years, too.  As a former OT, and a veteran homeschooler, Betsy also offers homeschool help to families 

This post is linked to some of my favorite blog hops here.
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review on how you test. We have used the CAT test for the last few years. I used to use Hewitt's homeschool test but it too longer. I think the test is valuable for practice for when they get to college.
    Blessings, Dawn

    ReplyDelete