Homeschooling Tips: Administering the Standardized Test

Homeschoolers are required to administer standardized tests to their home schooled kids. Some homeschoolers must bring their children to a testing center, or hire a certified tester; in other states, the parents can administer the test themselves. In the State of Georgia where I live, as long as we test every three years starting in the 3rd grade, we are allowed to choose our method of testing the child.

For parents in those states where parent-child standardized testing is allowed, here is the process for administering the required standardized test.

1. Read your state requirements to determine what types or what specific standardized tests are required. You may be required to administer any nationally recognized state test, or you may be required to administer a specific test.

2. Locate a source through which you can purchase the standardized test for your child. I like to use Familylearning.org to purchase the CAT test as it is nationally recognized, and Georgia accepts this test as one of the allowed options.

3. Purchase the test online or in person. Purchasing an actual standardized test for homeschoolers is not like buying a book. There will be strict guidelines to prevent cheating. These guidelines are for everyone’s protection. Should your test be circulated, it could cause unfair results with other students scoring higher than they would. In the end, your child’s score would be low in comparison to others.

4. After your receive the test, you need to decide how many days you will take to administer it. Communicate to your children when their testing days will be to allow them to prepare mentally. In most cases, you will have to return your test within a set amount of time, so do not set the dates too far off.

5. On the day of the standardized test, be sure your home schooled child has had enough sleep and a good meal before starting. Do not feed them too much, as they will become sluggish. Just be sure the meal is well balanced and nutritious.

6. Starting with the first section of the test, determine how much time is allowed to take that part of the test. Use a kitchen timer and set it to ring 2/3 of the way through the section as a gentle reminder. (you can set as the �½ way point if you wish) At that point, you can re-set it for the remainder of the session.

7. Read the section instructions and then the sample questions with the child and have them fill out the answer. Tell them the correct answer and explain why that answer is correct.

8. Start the timer informing the child how much time they have and letting them know the first chime will mean they are 2/3 way through.

9. Go into an adjoining room, with a book to read or other activity to keep your mind occupied. Do not stand over the child and groan or make clicking noises when they are marking the wrong answer. I realize it is painful to see your child make an error on a test someone else will see. However, as a homeschooler taking a standardized test, if your children are not allowed to test according to the knowledge they themselves have retained, you will not be able to learn their strengths and weaknesses. This will leave them with learning gaps in the end.

10. Repeat steps 6 though 9 until the standardized test is completed. Take breaks in between sections and spread the tests out over several days.

11. Return your standardized test, answer key to the homeschool testing service (by the required date), and wait for your results.

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