There are as many different opinions about academic testing as
there are homeschoolers. Many people object to standardized testing.
Hopefully this page can help you decide how you feel about academic
start with a definition:
as-sess ,v.t. 1. to estimate officially the
value of (property,etc) for taxation. 2. to determine
the amount of (damages, a fine, etc.) 3. to evaluate:
to assess one's efforts.
|The next word in my dictionary
as-set, n. 1. A useful thing or quality.
interesting definition to me was number 3. Actually the next
definition is the real comment. In this age of standardized
testing, how can one really measure one's efforts? One of
my favorite topics is No Child Left Behind because of the
element of required "assessment" of students and
teachers. There's a "catch 22" for you! In the state
where I homeschool, we have to send proof that our students
show improvement each year and we have three choices in order
to do that. One choice is the standardized test, the next
is to have our portfolio assessed by a state certified teacher
and the third is a method that both the parent and the superintendent
agree on. Well, if you're dealing with a middle school age
student that prefers Quantum Physics to Earth Science and
Wheelock's Latin to English Grammar, you're kind of in a weird
place, especially when none of these choices sit very well
with you in the first place.
In our homeschool we look at Standardized tests as a necessary
evil that measures someone's idea of some subset of knowledge
the specific age group should know. We also know
that one day we'll take the SAT College entrance test, so
I administer a CAT-5 every year for 2 reasons. 1. so my student
knows what a standardized test looks like 2. to satisfy my
curiosity that he could play that game if he needed to. Lame
reasons, but that's what we do. In this age of standardized
testing I thinks it's better to be the informed player on
the sidelines than the ostrich who doesn't even pay attention
to the game in the stadium.
an excellent article on the Side
Effect Lessons of Standardized Testing by Ann Lahrson
Interesting Find: The
National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)
Works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized
testing and to ensure that evaluation of students,
teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally
on homeschoolers who take standardized
tests are few and far between. In 1999 Susan
and Larry Kaseman wrote an interesting article
Study: Embarrassing and Dangerous"
that outlines why participating in surveys designed
to quantify academic ability among homeschoolers,
using the subset that takes standardized tests, is
a bad idea.
Lingo - The Language of Standardized Testing
language used in conjunction with standardized testing is
mind boggling - especially if it is language you do not see
everyday. In my opinion, it is language that is designed to
confuse parents into thinking that there are "experts"
out there who are better than they are in assessing their
children's needs. Granted in some cases, "experts"
need to be called in, but in the case of standardized testing,
language should be precise and clear for parents to understand.
There is nothing more frustrating to a parent than to receive
standardized test results that have to have a page of explanation
describing what the numbers mean. But this is structured world
of public and private education these days thanks to "No
Child Left Behind" and other means to assess school and
section attempts to decode some of the "lingo" you
might encounter in dealing with standardized testing.
A norm-referenced test is a type of test, assessment,
or evaluation in which the tested individual is compared
to a sample of peers who also took the same test.
referenced test (CRTs)
Criterion referenced are
intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific
subject. CRTs usually are administered to determine whether
a student has learned the material taught in a specific
grade or course.
Determine developmental readiness. Administered at Kindergarten
or 1st grade.
The two most commonly used for gifted assessment are
the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children® (WISC)
and the Stanford-Binet.These
tests measure Intelligence quotient or IQ. The Stanford-Binet
has a higher range and is the test of choice for highly
more on IQ Testing ]
AKA: academic, achievement or proficiency) Tests
A standardized test is an assessment that has been devised
from a sample of primarily public school students of
a certain grade and age in a particular area. This kind
of test generally includes sub-tests to measure a student's
math and reading levels, and may include sub-tests on
science, social studies and more specific areas such
as spelling, grammar, problem solving.There are 2 kinds
of standardized tests. 1. Norm referenced 2. criterion
Unlike standardized tests, diagnostic tests
are criterion referenced. This means that the test items
and goals are determined according to a fixed set of
requirements. Each test is scored based only on the
student's own performance regarding his or her grade
Regarding Academic Testing in the Public School System
Your School Records Private?
by Amy Cortez - Editor The Eclectic Telegraph
If you are a student at a private school or a public school
you probably ought to know that your records are not really
yours. This holds true for homeschooled students in most states
in less you take care of this little detail. A little item
called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
allows a school to release personal informational items such
as: your name, address, telephone number, date and place of
birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance to pretty
much anybody, including the military...[read
you choose to have your student test through the public school
system, you need to recognize that his scores are not private
due to a little number our government did on us called FERPA
Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
In the United States, if your child has been through any kind
of testing in the public school system, you are entitled to
copies of the full results, including IQ / standard scores,
percentiles, age and grade equivalent scores, and much more.
Sometimes this information is offered, sometimes you may need
to cite this federal law to get them. You are also entitled
to keep some of that information private. But by the very
idea that your student is part of the school system, his information
is public record. Privacy only comes if you are homeschooling
and stay on top of the records you allow to become public.
gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's
education records. These rights transfer to the student when
he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the
high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred
are "eligible students."
Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and
review the student's education records maintained by the school.
Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless,
for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents
or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge
a fee for copies.
Parents or eligible students have the right to request that
a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate
or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record,
the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal
hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not
to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the
right to place a statement with the record setting forth his
or her view about the contested information.
schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible
student in order to release any information from a student's
education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose
those records, without consent, to the following parties or
under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
School officials with legitimate educational interest;
schools to which a student is transferring;
officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a
Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf
of the school;
To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies;
State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system,
pursuant to specific State law.
may disclose, without consent, "directory" information
such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and
place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance.
However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about
directory information and allow parents and eligible students
a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose
directory information about them. Schools must notify parents
and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA.
The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion
in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is
left to the discretion of each school [ more