Most homeschoolers already know about standardized testing. With names like SAT, CAT, IOWA, and ITBS, and the reputation they’ve earned over the years, these kinds of tests are hard to forget.
Some states require the testing of homeschoolers to fulfill legal requirements, so avoiding them is not an option. Then again, many states do not require testing homeschoolers at all.
But even when testing is not required, some parents choose to use them anyway. Reasons stated for testing include filling annual portfolios with grade reports, giving students test-taking practice, and seeking reassurance that students compare well to other students the same age and grade.
Testing at home is a lot like testing somewhere else. Proctors (in this case, homeschool parents) must follow the same guidelines as proctors do in other testing situations.
When doing voluntary testing, parents can opt for testing at home versus somewhere else. If school districts or homeschool groups offer testing, these test centers may be used for homeschoolers, too.
On the other hand, many families prefer to test in a home environment instead. Because of the advantages of testing at home, it is the preferred option for many people. Advantages include being able to make students completely comfortable in their own environment; having the ability to schedule frequent breaks for stretching or for snacking; and allowing students to have comfort items nearby, like small toys, a favorite pencil, a family pet or wearing favorite clothes (like cozy pajamas or being barefoot).
Though preserving the integrity of the test is important to getting accurate results, most families are well able to do this from home while still creating a comfortable testing environment. As an added bonus, test scores are mailed directly to the home, protecting the student’s privacy, too.
Locating companies that provide at-home tests is easy. Begin with this list, then find others on your own:
Remember that some tests must be administered in controlled environments by credentialed professionals, but there are several choices that can be given by “regular” parents in the kitchen or dining room. Just select the test, the date(s) you’ll be testing, and send payment. Then, just follow the guidelines and get testing!