Most homeschool families run their homeschool like a private academy with their own educational emphasis and method. It’s true that not one home educating experience is like another. However, all homeschool families have the same goal – well-educated children.
No matter how we start or what methods we employ along the way, we need to stop and evaluate our progress at certain points. While I am not a proponent of over testing or teaching for the test as has become the norm in US public schools, I do believe that certain standardized achievement tests can be useful in the educational journey.
Why Take A Standardized Test
- To make sure students are really learning core skills and information
- To give encouragement to homeschool parents that they are doing a good job
- To determine where the student is needing some additional help
- If the student is planning on enrolling in a traditional school, standardized test scores can help determine where the child should be placed.
MAP Standardized Test
We chose to have our son take a standardized test this past fall. He is in 6th grade and at that pivotal place between elementary and middle school. I wanted to be sure he had a solid foundation to build on. While we were looking at testing options, Affordable Homeschool Testing Services offered to test our son in exchange for an honest review.
What impressed me before we even started testing was the customer service. I had questions about which level test to take and how the test worked. I emailed the company and got a personal phone call to walk me through the process.
During the phone call, we scheduled a MAP Math and Reading Test which is taken over two days online at home. There was no travel to a testing center or paper test forms that could get trashed. Those were huge benefits for us!
Each tests only took an hour or so and was painless for my son. The test duration was just right for my son. Much longer and he might have lost interest. He was in a familiar environment, so he didn’t feel a huge amount of pressure.
Within a week, the results were mailed to me. The results were not just a test score, but a 48 page report with overall scores, scores for separate sections of the tests, percentiles, and a learning statements section.
The learning statement section “details the skills and concepts that are in the range of where your child performed on the MAP test”. This section had three columns showing the levels of proficiency and areas that your child needs more teaching.
The MAP standardized test was a great help for me. I discovered that my son was way beyond the reading level I had thought. That meant I could breathe a little easier. His math scores were on par, so we are on the right track. The addition of the learning statements helped me see where I needed to fill some gaps in his learning.
Testing through Affordable Homeschool Testing Services was a great experience for us. It was easy and thorough. I would recommend it for any homeschool family.