Yearly Testing: How to Do It

Many states ask you to submit standardized test scores to demonstrate your student’s yearly progress. Yearly standardized testing can be done fairly easily, but there are many, many many tests out there.

Many states ask you to submit standardized test scores to demonstrate your student’s yearly progress. Yearly standardized testing can be done fairly easily, but there are many, many many tests out there. Negotiate the maze by following these steps:

1. Call a state home-school organization (many states have more than one) and ask what your state’s regulations are, or visit the organization’s website and search for any information  When does the child need to be tested? What tests are acceptable?

2. Decide how you want the test to be administered. You have several options:

  • If you want to, and if you have a well-ordered, friendly private school nearby, call and ask whether your children can take their standardized test on test administration day. Usually, you’ll need to register ahead of time and pay a nominal fee. This is especially good for older children (seventh grade and up) since it exposes them to the conditions that will surround SAT testing.
  • Administer the test yourself. A number of the standardized basic tests—including the California Achievement Test and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skill—can be given by the parent and sent back for grading. The best source for this sort of testing is currently Seton Testing Services.
  • Take your children to a professional testing site for private test administration. The education department of a local college or university can provide you with this information.should also have this information.

3. Prepare for the test. Don’t take huge amounts of precious teaching time, but consider the following:

  • Take sample tests. You can often find these online, or order sample tests from the testing centers.
  • Make sure you tell the child, before he takes the test, that it will contain material beyond his grade level. For example, a test for grades 1 through 3 typically contains material from the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade in order to identify highly gifted or advanced third graders. But if the student doesn’t know that some of the material is purposely designed to be too hard, he might panic and stop thinking clearly.
  • Reduce the child’s anxiety by accepting that standardized test results are no big deal. If you’re agitated because you feel that your success as a parent and teacher is resting on this standardized test, your child will pick up on your urgency.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Wise Bauer

Susan Wise Bauer is an educator, writer, and historian. She is the co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (now in its fourth edition), and the author of (among others) The Well- Educated Mind, The Story of Western Science, the Story of the World series, the History of the World series, the elementary series Writing With Ease, and the pre-rhetoric series Writing With Skill. Susan was home educated through high school and has taught all four of her children at home. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English language and literature, an M.Div., and a Ph.D. in the history of American religion from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where she taught writing and literature for over fifteen years.

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