Testing - What standardized tests are out there?

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Testing - What standardized tests are out there?

Unread post by kellybell »

Our older kids did the Stanford-9 through the Christian school that they first attended and then later enrolled as part of their homeschooling "umbrella" service. They did the version with the Bible on it (that was nice).

It would be sort of nice to continue using that, but it's not necessary. We can do the CSAP (Colorado's state test that the public schools do) or something like Stanford or Iowa. I've got a master's degree but not a teaching certificate, so I am not sure what tests I could administer at home.

I'm not really worried as I am sure we'll figure it out, but I thought I'd ask those of you who choose your standardized tests what you like and what is "homeschool-friendly."

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:33 am
Last year was the first year we did testing on our own. We did the CAT-E (California Achievement Test) from http://www.setonhome.org, a Catholic homeschooling service. It cost us $25 per child. They sent it to us, we did the testing and sent it back to them in mailers that came with the tests. In about a month, we had the results and we copied them and forwarded them to the school district.

Our local school district accepted it, but I am not sure if all will. The "E" version is a "survey" version on the CAT. It is very short compared to other tests. Let's see, there were five different sections (all language and math, no science, history, or Bible). They allowed about 25 minutes (again, I'm going off what I can remember -- you aren't allowed to keep test booklet so I can't go back and check) per section but my average kids took about 15 minutes per section. So the test is really short.

The advantage of this is that it really isn't a big impact on your day. If you do one test section a day for a week you're done and the only impact is that your day is about 15 minutes longer. You don't have to totally stop your schooling.

The disadvantage is that your child is only given two or three questions on each type of question. If your child misses just one question of a certain type, he's already missed 1/2 or 1/3 of those questions. It doesn't give a really precise picture of a child.

However, that said, the results on our CAT test were very similar (no huge jumps) to our Stanford results.

Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:28 am
The CAT "Survey" version... is inexpensive ($25 from Hewitt Homeschooling's website)...

A friend of mine who has graduated six students reminded me to not sweat it too much with high school tests. She recommended if the child didn't test well, just send him to the local community college. Once a child is established in the community college and earning basic credits there, he can transfer to a more prestigious college based on his community college experiences, and the more prestigious college often won't give one look at the high school grades or test scores. So, my kids will take the SAT but we won't sweat over it.
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Unread post by MJP »

We test with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Although I am a certified teacher, my mother actually gives the tests so I can't comment as to content. However, she has not mentioned anything. The children have not either. The children have done very well, and they actually look forward to testing every year because it is a big outing at Grandma and Papa's.

I do know that with the Stanford if you are testing your own children, you have to have other children at the same grade level testing as well.

We order through Bob Jones University and I believe it is about 40 per child. Your test giver must also be certified. This wasn't difficult, but there was a one-time fee. There are cheaper tests out there if price is a major consideration. I can't remember all the specific rules about who can give the test. I am sure it would be on their website.
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

I'm odd because I like to test! I organize the testing for our homeschool co-op. I personally prefer the Standford. I can't really say why, although my earlier experience was with the Standford, so I may just be more familiar with it. I know I did like the score reporting better with S. I also prefered the subtest question format of the Stanford.

Melissa is correct that you need 2 other children at the same grade level, if you are testing your own with the S. I also go through BJU and I believe you have to have a bachelor's degree (but not in educ.) and watch a video or record testing experience to be "certified" as a tester. It was not difficult, but I don't recall a fee. It was several years ago though. Their website does give good information on the 2 tests. We have never gotten the Bible section though, that sounds interesting!

We used the ITBS one year b/c it was a bit cheaper. There is also a test called the CAT (California Achievement Test,) but I know nothing about that one.

Hope that helps. Molly
Sue in MN
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Unread post by Sue in MN »

If you have a master's degree then you are definitely qualified to administer any test. The most stringent requirements for any of them is a 4 year degree. None require a teacher's license.

In MN we have to test yearly. In our 20+ years we have used the Stanford, Iowa, CAT and PASS.

Currently, I prefer the PASS, The PASS only tests math, language, and reading and isn't timed so it is not very stressful, but it is only available for 3rd - 8th grade.

So next year we will go back to the CAT which is my second choice. The Stanford was my best choice before the CAT. They seemed similar but the CAT is shorter in that they are about half as many questions per test. My dc had a hard time with long tests.

I usually get them with my homeschool group which makes them cheaper but then I have to do them when the group orders them. Most of my dc have liked taking achievement tests and do well on them but I still would prefer not to have to do them.
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Testing Options

Unread post by Ophoven »


Another Testing option that we have available in MN is the Peabody. I love it! Peabody is a Standardized Norm Reference test that is given orally. This test is scored according to the month and year of the school. It can be administered and scored differently than year round. So, you can give this test at ANYTIME during the School year. Some highlights:
· Reasoning and factual knowledge
· Reading recognition (letter sounds and sight words)
· Reading comprehension
· Math (does NOT use pen and paper)
· Spelling (uses 4 different words to pick the right one), visual

You will get a Raw Score sheet with a grade level for each of the 5 areas. Also, a Grade total reading for where your child is at. The receipt given will have a date on it for your records. Test takes roughly 1 1/2 hours of testing (could be 3 hours is child is struggling, but rare). We have a local administrator who charges us $40 per child.

Highly recommend families check into this option,
Tracy in MN
Amy in NC
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Unread post by Amy in NC »

groovymama wrote:Here in NC I don't have to test my son just yet. But I want to for myself to see where he is at academically. He is in Kindergarten.
What test would you use? Have you used? Why did you like it?
Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:13 pm
Our 1st homeschool year we used the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Dd's were K & 2nd that year. I did not like it & dh thought it was outdated. It asked questions that my girls could not relate to. My 5yo had no idea what suspenders were, had no reason to know. That is just one example of many questions that they missed unrelated to what they were testing for.

Our 2nd year we used the Woodcock-Johnson II or is it III. I liked it much better. It is given by an administrator, takes about 60 -90 minutes, and you leave with the results. Of course its more expensive, but for me it was worth not having to devote three 4 hour days to the test. The W-J is what we will stick with for the future.

My oldest also took the Stanford Achievement Test in K & 1st while in Christian school. I don't know much about that one. Oldest dd seemed to score ok on it. I've heard that you can get a version with a section on Bible, but I don't think it is available everywhere.

Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:55 pm

We use the Woodcock-Johnson test. It is a little extra, but someone else gives it. Most is oral and can be done in about an hour. My kids have always scored above average. I would highly recommend it.
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:06 pm

In Minnesota, we are required to test from age 7 to age 16. We use the Iowa as a large group, with a mom who has teacher certification running it and other moms helping with each grade. It takes three mornings. It costs about $30 for the test and about $10 is added for the church rental, pencils, etc. I don't really have an opinion on what test I use, but I find a group test helpful for motivation with my less-than-motivated-youngest-child.

Here is another good discussion from the past:

Does anyone do standardized testing? Is it helpful?

Condensing Lessons & Year-end Evaluation Questions

Unread post by cbollin »

Mustang480 wrote:Hi everyone, I have a 4 DD and 6 DS and we are doing MFWK and basically...we are WAY behind. We have our year-end evaluations in May. I am trying to be finished by then. I don't even know what DS will be tested on. How can I find out what he will be tested on at the year-end evaluation?? At least that way I can make sure to cover those topics and he will be prepared.
They can’t be testing them on too much at that age. Not all students can read fluently at the end of K. Who will be doing the testing and do you know what test they use? Maybe there is someone on this board who would have better specifics for that.

Even if you “rush” the lessons, it doesn’t mean that your child will master the phonics material. I’m not seeing if you said your son is already reading. Even if you have to rush the lessons in the early section, encourage him to work on handwriting a bit with the "tactile" ideas - drawing in sand, salt tray, work with modeling clay, etc. He can do that as "after school" work.

What lessons can be sped up a bit? Starting in lesson 6 you will start to work with blending those sounds that he already knows. By lesson 13 you are reading short stories in the workbook. It is ok to condense a bit especially in your situation up until lesson 6 or 7. Then you will need to go at your child’s pace for the phonics. He might be do ok with going faster, but he needs to learn the material not just “get it done”. I wouldn’t look at trying to catch up to a certain week, but find a way to move forward.

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:47 pm
I found an interesting site that might help you a bit. I don't know how valid it is.

Maybe that would be a useful skill chart for you as you are watching for progress in your child. It seems the "test" on that site is more from observation skills and an oral exam. But what I really noticed is how it is scored. It is with words like Good, Need extra help, progressing (and I'm still laughing at parts of it like raising your hand in class).

I thought maybe you'd like to see the categories of a standardized test out there (one Kelly mentioned in another thread). It is written in all fancy educator language, so keep that in mind. :) looks like the child matches a lot of pictures to demonstrate basic skills.

you'll be fine
Susan on the Space Coast
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Unread post by Susan on the Space Coast »

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:59 am

I hope I can give you some peace of mind about evaluations and how it is done in FL.

I live in FL, homeschool my 3 kids, and provide testing for students grades K-12 (actually, it's for the parents, that I provide testing). In FL, an evaluation has to be done yearly, by the anniversary of your letter of intent. Standardized testing is only one option. A portfolio of work (sample are all that are needed) can also be evaluated by a certified teacher, such as myself. Most parents that test K students have older students they are also testing that year. For example, my K DD took the test only b/c her older bro and sis (2nd and 4th graders) took the test that year; and, I was going to be there for those 3 days administering the test.

About the portfolio: find an evaluator (certified teacher) that is homeschool-friendly (your support group can probably help with that) and then work on keeping samples of work (a page or two) from the beginning of the year, another from about January; and, if you can get the eval in the summer, more from the end of the year. (I'll give more detail as needed; pls. email me directly and I can be more specific.)

I remember before I started evaluating, I took 6 pcs. of paper (from beginning, middle, and end) for each of my children to the evaluator. She was so impressed with that work, that she chose to start using MFW for the next year!

Back to your child: Don't skip any lessons in MFWK! I did that with my first child b/c we started in October (yep, I'm one that switched after school started to MFW) and I wanted to finish "on time". It was another couple of years before my DD could write and sound out her letters I skipped/ skimped on. No one says you should finish K in May. I would encourage you, no, I give you permission to take a break now, and be easy on yourself as you finish the year with wisdom and guidance from the Lord, who lead you to homeschool your children. You've gotten some great advice from experienced moms; enjoy your holidays, and you'll be able to start rested and fresh.

This curriculum is scheduled so you can pick up where you left off, but use it as a guideline. Use the tactile activities, esp. w/DS and continue to contact moms that will be encouraging and uplifting--I hope you can find that in your support group.

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Unread post by MJP »

CharleneHoell wrote:I am in the process of testing my oldest ds (3rd grade) using the CAT5. My question is this: If you were me, would you be concerned about the copyright of the test and that your child was being compared with the scores of children who took the test 16 years ago? The woman also said they use a test that is so old because they have to wait until they can be used by homeschooling families! Thanks, Charlene
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:12 pm

I have never heard of homeschoolers having to wait for a test. We do not have to use old tests. I order mine through BJU.
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Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:15 pm

Ya made me look!

I have the two older girls' CATs here near the laptops and they are both 1988. I have no idea if this is simply the copyright on the tests and they are scored along with other 21st century kids or what... We did the tests last year and they seemed to be pretty much "on target" so that the kids scored higher in their strong areas and lower in their weak areas. And, really, it makes no difference to me if they are a point off here or there based on what other kids are doing. I guess it would be an issue if they were testing so low that they were "on the scope" of Uncle Sam and needed the absolutely best possible score to keep the school district from bugging us.
Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:04 pm

I wanted to agree with the ladies who recommended going with a tester who will administer a woodcock-johnson test. Well worth the extra money because of the low key nature of the test.

Both my boys of testing age have always done very well -- always better than I expect. The testing anxiety is greatly reduced with this test, and that is so much more appropriate for this age range imo (no matter what curriculum you use). In fact my kids actually look forward to the test and really like our evaluator -- he always makes it so fun for them!
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Re: Testing...

Unread post by LSH in MS »

joy2BAMom wrote:I know there is a way to test my child but I can't remember the company. I want to adminster it myself. I know one of you helpful ladies knows what test I am thinking of!! I appreciate your help.
Do a search for Seton Testing and you should find it. I just ordered these for my children.

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Re: Testing...

Unread post by RJ's Momma »

I believe Christian Liberty Press also sells standard tests. You give the child the test and send it back for grading. I think it is only $20 or $25.
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Re: Testing...

Unread post by RB »

We used a test from familylearning.org
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Re: Testing...

Unread post by TracyLee01026 »

You can also order testing from Hewitt Resources and administer them yourself. They are not timed.
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standardized testing for PA special need child

Unread post by Amy in NC »

dorenekimberly wrote:We will be using MFW for the third year next year, and have really enjoyed it in the past. We live in PA, where standardized testing is required for 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade. I have a special needs daughter who will be considered 8th grade next year. She has always taken the WRAT in the past, which was relatively painless; it did not have to be ordered for a specific grade level, but was a wide range, where the child could stop when they missed so many words or math problems. (Only reading and math are required for PA.) I just found out the WRAT will no longer be accepted. I know she could never do anything like a grade level Stanford test. Is anyone out there familiar with another test that might work for her? She is academically years behind.

Thank you so much,
Do you have to give an 8th grade level test? For example, here in NC we have to test every year, but it doesn't matter what level you test them on or what the results are. They won't close a homeschool for bad test results and they really just don't have time to look at everyone's test scores. (I know this for a fact, don't ask, I just know). This year for dd8 I got a 2nd grade test (she's 3rd gr) and then read the whole test to her. The test (CAT/5) I gave her stated in the instructions that "accommodations" were allowed as long as you kept a written record of the "accommodations" you made with the test results. Would you be able to do something like that for your dd?

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Jenn in NC
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Re: standardized testing for PA special need child

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Amy's ideas are good. Another thing you could do is check into using a Woodcock-Johnson test. If you google it, you can find their main website and I think from there you can find testers in your area. Sometimes it is a bit pricey (depending on the tester) but it is a much better route to go for young kids or for kids who don't do well in a typical testing situation.

Part of the test is written and timed; the tester will watch for the point at which your child hits her personal "wall" and testing will stop then in most sections. Some sections require a certain amount to be completed but it is not overwhelming, even for my dyslexic son, who struggles mightily with things like tests.

A large part of the test involves one-on-one interaction between the tester and your child. My kids always enjoy this part and a good WJ tester can make this part seem more like a fun conversation with some "games" for your child.

After the test you will have a short meeting with the tester to go over the results, ask questions, get recommendations, etc.

Very different from the standard type of test. My kids leave feeling happy and successful. That alone is worth the extra money.

Oh, another thing you may want to know... the tester will probably prefer to test in the child's normal schooling environment (your home).
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Re: standardized testing for PA special need child

Unread post by microcarter »

I also love the Woodcock-Johnson III test. It is more expensive than some but it is one child with one tester on one day for a few hours. My son took it last year and he actually enjoyed taking the test. I would call some testers in your area and talk to them about how the test is done and aks how it would be a good fit for your child.

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Amy in NC
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Re: standardized testing for PA special need child

Unread post by Amy in NC »

I just wanted to add that the WJIII is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone usually has wonderful things to say about this test. I had hoped that it would work well with my 2 dds. We used 2 different testers for the last 2 years. The testers both came highly recommended. The first year was an alright experience, but last year was a dismal failure. UGH, I felt like a number being shuffled through, like they couldn't get rid of us fast enough. Hope your mileage varies.

Oh, and both testers seemed to have a certain curricula they were pushing as the answer to all your problems.

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Jenn in NC
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Re: standardized testing for PA special need child

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Well I am sure it would definitely depend on the tester. We have used three different testers through the years, and have never had a bad experience. Of the three, there was one who was just fine, acceptable, but nothing that made a big positive (or negative) impression on me; and then the other two were really exceptional and worth every penny. And the one time we tested using a standard test, it was miserable!

But Amy is right, just b/c we have had good experiences doesn't mean everyone will. So, point well taken. :)

So in the end, Dorene, I am wondering if your best bet might just be to talk to others in your area who have struggling learners. Find out what they have done.

Some states also accept the PASS test... don't know much about it but I will try to find a link for you.
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LA in Baltimore
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Re: standardized testing for PA special need child

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

I was sorry to hear about them removing the WRAT.
It is a wonderful tool.
Lower stress.
We've taken the CAT, ITBS, and WRAT.
My child scored similarly on each one. The WRAT is just so much more child friendly!

Do you belong to HSLDA? They would be the perfect ones to help you with this.
Also, CHAP's website should point you to a homeschool organization in your area. They may have names of elvaluators that are near you.

Praying you get the information you need in a timely fashion.
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Achievement tests

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Amy C. wrote:I am interested in having my two oldest tested sometime this year (probably at the end of the year) to see how they score and what strengths and weaknesses show up. I would like to administer the test here at home. I was wondering what any of you did if/when you had your children tested. I found out that the Iowa Achievement test through our homeschool group would be given over 3 days (last year was about a 30-40 minute drive for us) and would cost about $60.00 per child. I think that I am capable of administering a test, but according to the IAT standards I would not be able to, so do any of you have any advice or experience to share.

Thanks for any response!
Amy C.
We got the California Achievement Test for my kid last year from Seton - it qualified as an acceptable test for my state. I will probably switch to Iowa Basic Skills next time...

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Michele in WA
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Re: Achievement tests

Unread post by Michele in WA »

I have also ordered from Seton and aslo from Family Learning Organization. They both use the CAT, although different versions. The CAT from Seton only has Math and Language Arts. The CAT from FLO uses the complete battery which includes math, LA, Spelling, history, and Science. And, in case you were wondering, my children did wonderfully on the test that included history and science, and we have always used MFW, so don't worry about if the science and history will match up with what MFW is teaching.


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Re: Achievement tests

Unread post by lisaha »

WE do the Seton CAT test once a year bc in MN we are required to test. It is easy, last year Abigail got 0 wrong on the whole test. If our state did not require testing, I would not test.
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