Standardized Achievement Tests
Does my child need to take tests?
According to Hawaii’s homeschool rule, Chapter 12 Compulsory Attendance Exceptions, section 8-12-18, parents are required to submit scores from “an appropriate criterion or norm-referenced test” for grades 3, 5, 8, and 10.
To meet the annual progress requirement for non-test grade years, a score on a “nationally-normed standardized achievement test” can be submitted.
Explanation of terms, please
What is a criterion test?
- A criterion test assesses a student’s performance on a fixed set of learning standards (what a student is expected to know and do based on the curriculum used).
What is a norm-referenced test?
- A norm referenced test compares a student’s knowledge to the knowledge of a norm group (a large number of students at specific grade levels who have taken the test and whose scores make up the norms for comparison)
What is a standardized achievement test?
- A test is considered “standardized” when it is administered, scored, and analyzed in the same consistent way for all test takers.
- An achievement test measures a student’s skills and abilities on particular subject matter at a particular time to determine academic progress.
Wondering what the benefits of a standardized test are?
- It is an objective assessment of your child’s academic performance and progress.
- It measures your child’s knowledge in the areas tested – what has been determined as common knowledge for a particular grade.
- If you are using the same test every year, you can get a picture of year to year progress.
- The test scores may help you identify areas of strengths
- It may also identify areas of weakness which in turn could help you determine your choice of curriculum and areas of focus.
- The test meets the Chapter 12 Rule requirements for testing and progress reports.
- Besides, it’s fun to fill in the bubbles!
That being said, nationally normed standardized achievement tests have their limits. They may not assess abilities or skills that you have taught particular to your homeschool. If you are teaching from a biblical worldview, the questions and answers may be biased.
And for a young child, some childhood experts/advocates suggest delaying formal testing for children under age 8/grade 3.
- Children between 5-8 years vary so much in their academic development; some of them may not be ready for formal testing.
- Perhaps you may have delayed formal academics for your child.
- You can always do a written parent evaluation to meet the annual progress report requirement.
Remember, keep a realistic and healthy perspective on your child’s test scores. The test is just a tool and the scores are just a snap shot on your child’s academic skills.
Where can I test my child?
According to the Chapter 12 Rule, homeschooled students may test at the local public school. Parents are responsible for contacting the school for testing dates and or details. Some schools do contact the parents to inform them of the school’s testing schedule.
Parents can also arrange for private testing at their own expense. Many parents choose this option because of their homeschool schedule. With private testing, the environment and test administrator may be more familiar and therefore less stressful for the child.
What tests are accepted by the Hawaii Department of Education? Where can I find them?
The DOE does not have a list of accepted tests. Per report, however, parents have submitted scores from the following tests. Cost of the test may vary depending on the test and the testing service used.
A nationally normed standardized achievement test, the Stanford 10 is available for grades K-12. The test is untimed and covers reading, language arts, math, science, social studies.
- BJU Press Homeschool makes this paper format test available to homeschoolers. Test administrators must be pre-approved by BJU Press by completing an online application, have a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree, and view the BJU Press Stanford 10 Administrator Training video. Parents may administer this test to their children if they meet the administrator qualifying requirements. Contact BJU Press for details //www.bjupresshomeschool.com/content/testing
- Seton Testing Services offers the Stanford 10 Online to homeschoolers for grades 3-12 only. Because it is administered online, Seton is the test administrator. For more information, go to //www.setontesting.com/product/stanford-10-online/
- Family Learning Organization offers the Stanford 10 Online for grades 3-12. Because the test is online, test administrators are provided. Visit the website for particulars. //www.familylearning.org/testing/
Iowa Assessments Form E
A nationally normed standardized test, the Iowa is available for grades K-12. The test is untimed and covers reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies.
- BJU Press offers this test to homeschoolers in online or paper booklet format. Parents may administer this test to their children if they meet the administrator qualifying requirements. Test administrators must be pre-approved with BJU Press by completing an online application and have a Bachelor of Science or Arts degree (preferred but not required). For more information, go to //www.bjupresshomeschool.com/content/testing
- Seton Testing Services makes this test available to homeschoolers in a paper booklet format. Parents can administer the test to their children; a bachelor’s degree is preferred but not required. For more information, go to //www.setontesting.com/product/iowa-assessments-form-e/
TerraNova 2 / CAT 6
Also known as the CAT 6, the TerraNova 2 is a nationally norm-referenced test for grades K-12. This test is timed and covers reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies. Parents may administer this test; no bachelor’s degree is required. This test is the updated California Achievement Test (CAT).
- Seton Testing Services makes the TerraNova 2 available to homeschoolers in a paper booklet format for grades K-12. For more information, go to //www.setontesting.com/product/terranova/
- Family Learning Organization also makes this test available in paper booklet format. Visit //www.familylearning.org/testing/
California Achievement Test (CAT)
The CAT is a widely used assessment of a student’s basic academic skills in reading, language, spelling, and mathematics. The test is available for grades 2-12.
- Academic Excellence makes the test available in paper booklet (timed) or online (untimed) format. Parents can administer this test to their children when using the paper booklet format. Academic Excellence also offers curriculum recommendations based upon the test results. //www.academicexcellence.com/
Other Helpful Things to Know
A number of other testing services can be found online. Each testing service offers one or more of these tests in one or more formats (paper booklet or online).
Depending on the particular test, the test format, or the testing service, test administrators may need a college degree.
- BJU Press in particular requires test administrators to be pre-qualified by BJU Press.
- For online tests, the testing service provides the test administrators.
- Depending on the test, parents may test their own child.
The cost of the test as well as deadlines for ordering, scheduling, and administering the test may vary with the testing service.
If you select a paper booklet test, you are renting the test and will need to adhere to deadlines for ordering, administering, and returning the test for scoring.
Most testing services also offer practice tests and will help you understand the test scores.
Take the time to investigate the tests to determine which test is most appropriate for your child.
- Visit the CHOH website and under Resources, refer to Standard Achievement Tests and the Test Comparison Chart.
- Visit the testing service website and even talk to their consultants before you make your decision.
This information is provided by Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii and does not constitute an endorsement for these tests or for the testing services.