March 29, 2010

Testing Week

It has arrived... our week of standardized testing for both the kids.  I know there are many arguments around the benefits of standardized testing for children.  I am not generally a big fan of standardized testing as a method of determining progress or proof of learning for a student.  Our state does not require testing for students who are home schooled unless the parent chooses that method for assessment purposes.
Our family does standardized testing every-other-year for both of the kids.  It is for informational and experiential purposes only.  I do not submit the scores to anyone for proof of their accomplishments as home-schoolers.  We do a portfolio review each year with a state certified (and designated Highly Qualified) teacher that is then submitted to our district as proof of their progress for the year.
I first chose to do a standardized test in a fit of insecurity.  As home schoolers - heck, as women/mothers - we are all known to have those moments where we doubt ourselves and our choices.  I really KNEW the kids were learning a lot, but still had that nagging...'how do they compare' thing in the back of my head.  So I did some research and after finding a place where I could secure testing materials for the kids - we did the testing - got back great scores and moved on. Nothing earth shattering, they didn't have any test anxiety or anything.  Just another unique experience.
2 years ago we had the opportunity with our standardized testing cycle to be part of a national study commissioned by HSLDA to look at the scores of home schooled students and see how we (as a group) stack up.  We chose to participate and the kids did excellent that year (mommy brag - they were 97th and 99th percentile overall).
This year we scheduled our testing for the last week of March as J and I will be traveling to Ohio for a big home school convention at the beginning of April and it made sense to test and then have a fun trip as break time.
I think it is good for them both to have the experience of standardized testing. They will most likely have to take the SAT and ACT for college and this is prep for those higher stakes tests in a small way.  They also enjoy the opportunity to do something different and get a kick out of seeing their numbers when the results come back.  And it is always a plus to have something concrete in hand if the need should ever arise to justify ourselves to the establishment or just for the grandparents to have for bragging purposes. :-)