Should Homeschoolers Use Standardized Tests?
Standardized testing in public schools is a heavily debated topic. Some states also require homeschoolers to take standardized tests, but many do not. If you live in a state that doesn’t require standardized testing, you may be wondering if you should have your children take one. The best way to decide is to consider some pros and cons of standardized testing.
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Pros of Standardized Testing
- The results can give you a better idea of where your kids stand compared to other children at their grade level.
- The results can help you pinpoint areas in your children’s learning that need extra attention.
- When children do well on the test, the results can boost their confidence.
- When children score well, the parents may feel reassured about their decision to homeschool and the methods or curriculum they use.
- Taking standardized tests can help your children become familiar with multiple-choice tests and provide practice that may help them when they take the ACT or SAT in the future.
- Being comfortable with standardized tests may help them do well on pre-employment tests or job related certification exams.
Cons of Standardized Testing
- Some children experience test anxiety or aren’t good test takers, causing them to score poorly even though they know the material.
- Testing may cause unnecessary stress for some students, especially younger children and those with learning disabilities.
- Homeschooling parents usually already have a good understanding of their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses, making testing unnecessary.
- Standardized tests require several hours to take, which could be spent learning or doing other activities.
- Standardized testing costs money, which could be used for learning materials or family expenses.
- Standardized testing can cause some parents to feel pressured to “teach to the test” rather than focus on their child’s unique abilities and needs.
If you choose to have your children take a standardized test or live in a state where it’s required, I like the Californa Achievement Test (CAT) from Academic Excellence. If you’re looking for a low-stress, affordable test, the CAT may be a good fit for your family too. Here’s what my family likes about the CAT:
- You can administer it yourself at home.
- They offer both timed and untimed versions.
- The test is taken online and scored immediately.
- The test does not expire and can be spread over as many sessions or days as needed.
- The results are easy to understand and explained well.
- At only $25 per student, the CAT is more affordable than other standardized tests. If you’re a first time customer and purchase through our referral link, you can save $5 off of any purchase of $10 or more from Academic Excellence.
If you choose to use the CAT, check the laws in your state to make sure that it’s accepted. The CAT is allowed in many states, but not all. Also, if you belong to a cover school, umbrella school, or other organization that requires testing, check with them to verify that they accept the CAT.