The best way for your child to take a a standardized test depends on your child and your assessment goals.
Below is a step-by-step guide, from choosing the test to getting the results.
How to Give Your Homeschooled Child a Standardized Test
Choosing & Preparing for a Test
1. Determine Your Goals for Testing
Does your state have a homeschool testing requirement you need to meet?
Are you concerned that your child may not be working at grade level?
Do you have an advanced child and you want data to better meet their needs?
2. Choose a Type of Test
Timed or untimed?
Paper, online or individually administered?
What subjects are important?
When was it written?
When was it normed?
How useful are the results?
3. Choose a Homeschool Testing Service
K-12 standardized test publishing companies do not work directly with individual families – therefore you will need to work with a homeschool testing service.
Look for a service with strong privacy policies and a reputation for providing excellent customer service.
Be wary of services that don’t list a physical address or include a phone number.
4. Schedule Your Test
How many days does your test require?
How many hours?
Find a week when you can make testing a priority and you don’t have any other major commitments.
If you are testing at the beginning of the school year, wait until you have been back in your homeschool routine for at least a couple weeks, so your score isn’t overly influenced by summer-loss.
If you are testing at the end of the school year, pay attention to any deadlines the testing service may have.
5. Prepare for Testing
Homeschool testing is low stakes testing so there is no need to drill students the way some public schools may. However, some preparation can be helpful.
Make sure your kids are familiar with the format of the test you have chosen.
For online tests, make sure they are comfortable using the mouse or touchscreen.
For adaptive tests, explain that they should expect to be challenged and will not be able to answer all the questions correctly.
Help them get a good night’s sleep before testing and start the day with a healthy breakfast.
How to Approach the Testing Experience
Encourage a Healthy Growth Mindset
It’s not about passing or failing!
It’s about learning what your child can do so you know what to focus on in your homeschool.
Follow the test administration rules carefully so you get results you can trust.
Immediately After Testing
Talk About First Impressions
Ask your kids what they thought and if there were any topics on the test they’d like to know more about.
If you have immediate results, compare them with previous results and celebrate your successes.
Talk with your child about what they feel is going well and what they might like to change.
In the Week After Testing
Reflect and Set Goals
Using your child’s score report combined with your own observations, reevaluate your curriculum choices and consider what might need adjustment to better meet your child’s needs.
In addition, talk to your child about specific goals for them to work towards. These should be SMART goals that you support, but your child controls.