Simply the phrase “homeschool testing” is enough to cause apprehension in both parents and students. While certain states require strict annual testing, other states don’t require anything at all. The gap between state requirements is enough to create very different realities for homeschooling families across the U.S.
To simplify: homeschooling is a matter of legal status regarding which party is responsible for complying with state laws: a teacher, or the parent? For example, a student learning remotely with a virtual academy hosted by the public school system does not legally qualify as “homeschooled,” because the teachers are responsible for reporting to the state, not the parent. However, when parents fulfill and comply with the homeschooling statute according to their state (whether that means filing an “Intent to Homeschool” affidavit or participating in required standardized testing, etc) they become responsible to the state for reporting according to the laws.
Consequently, there are many different types of testing and grading other than standardized tests. We’ll discuss each in this Homeschool Assessment Guide.
Daily Homeschool Grades
Homeschoolers have long had differing opinions about daily grades. Yet, the baseline is that if your state requires formal grading and evidence of such then it is a good idea to take daily/weekly test and quiz grades (aka “formal grading”). However, if you do not face these requirements from your state, then you are free to determine whether or not you would like to take frequent formal grades via tests and quizzes.
For the most part, many homeschoolers often forgo elementary daily grading, while picking up a moderate amount of quizzes and tests in middle school in preparation for the more formal grading and college prep of high school. Again, the bottom line is dependent on what is best for each individual student.
Placement Tests for Homeschooling Families
Placement testing helps determine which “grade” (1st, 2nd, third, fourth grade, etc.) is best for your student. While many families begin homeschooling at the start of a new semester and consequently follow the natural grade progression, other families’ experiences are not so straightforward. Whatever your reasoning, if you find yourself thinking that a placement test will be helpful for your student, you have a few options.
- Sonlight Free Homeschool Placement Tests. Sonlight offers free homeschooling placement testing for reading, language arts, and math!
- Online Algebra Placement Test. If you need to know whether your student is prepared to specifically take Algebra 1 or Algebra 2, consider this placement test.
- Internet4Classrooms Free Assessment Test Help. This website offers free placement testing for homeschooled students. With various grade levels available for math, science, social studies, and language arts, homeschool parents should have an excellent idea of where to place their students with these assessments.
- MobyMax Quick Checker. With MobyMax, homeschooling parents can use this Quick Checker for a free assessment of their student’s knowledge, comprehension, and learning gaps!
Learning Disabilities Diagnostic Testing
For a successful learning experience, it is helpful, if not essential, to identify any potential obstacles or learning disabilities. Diagnostic testing can determine several types of special needs in your children, which is the first step to evaluating tools and resources for better homeschooling experiences. After all, when parents are aware of how their children learn best, they can adjust the homeschool schedule and lessons to accommodate those differences.
Here are two websites to get started!
- Seton Testing Services: Let’s Go Learn! This website has a few diagnostic assessments available. Parents can choose from 6 different diagnostic tests for reading and math.
- Triangle Education Assessments: Ability/Cognitive Tests. With these ability tests, parents can browse several styles of testing for identifying gifted students. These tests are standardized and are not free, but may still be helpful for homeschooling families.
8 Websites for Student IQ Homeschool Testing
Occasionally, it can be helpful to have your children take an IQ test to determine their aptitude. There are a variety of choices for a psychological test, whether typical IQ tests, self-discovery, personality tests, or an aptitude test. All of these tests may help individualize your homeschooler’s education and your approach to teaching as a homeschool parent. Finally, it may be helpful for homeschooling parents to learn about the psychometric test. Psychometric testing measures individual mental capabilities and behavior styles, often used by employers for candidates to evaluate if they are suitable for the available position.
To learn more, as well as find a test suitable for your homeschooler, you can start by perusing the 10 listed here:
- Kids IQ Test
- Free IQ Test
- Free Practice Aptitude Tests
- Free Spatial IQ Quiz
- Free Career Tests
- Self-Discovery Tests
- Free Personality Test
- Free IQ Test
- Free Psychological Tests
- What Are Psychometric Tests?
Required Homeschool Standardized Testing by State
Even when not required by state laws, homeschool parents may opt to have their children take these standardized tests anyway. There are a few benefits of achievement tests that are widely overlooked in the wake of test apprehension. However, these tests can help serve as an educational guide rather than merely an assessment. Standardized tests are a helpful way for homeschool parents to judge their students’ academic progress by statewide standards. Further, it can be convenient to have these test records on hand for future college applications or inquiries to show their official learning progress. Annual standardized testing may also help your students feel more prepared for taking higher-stakes tests such as the SAT and ACT. Without frequent achievement tests, students may feel out of their element when testing, and these nerves could result in an inaccurate score.
Consider the links below for information on your state’s laws, as well as the potential benefits of achievement tests and tips for test preparation.
- Complete Guide to Homeschool Testing. Is testing required in your state? Learn here.
- Laws for Homeschooling by State, Province, or Country. What are your state’s laws for homeschooling families? Search this list to find out.
- 5 Reasons to Take Standardized Tests Early. This post demonstrates the benefits of standardized testing in light of it being a controversial subject among educators.
- Test Prep: Methods of Study. If your homeschooler is preparing to take a standardized test, proper test prep is vital. This post goes over various methods of study to help your student prepare for the best possible results.
- 8 Ways to Prepare Your Homeschooler for Standardized Testing. This post is specifically geared toward high schoolers. Good grades are essential in high school for college applications, so if you have a homeschooled high schooler, be sure to take a look at these tips.
TOEFL and the TOEIC for Homeschool Testing
What is the TOEFL? This abbreviation stands for the “Test Of English as a Foreign Language.” This test is used to evaluate a student’s language level. Most commonly, the TOEFL is important for international students looking into exchange programs or studying abroad. This test is primarily used by universities as part of the admissions process when accepting international students. The TOEFL would mainly apply to non-native English speakers looking to study in English-speaking countries.
However, there is another test for measuring English called the TOEIC. This abbreviation stands for the “Test of English for International Communication.” The TOEIC standardized test is used more for work purposes than academic ones, for example, a non-native English speaker applying for a work visa in an English-speaking country. As far as differences go, the TOEIC calls upon knowledge of everyday speech and business language rather than academic terms, making it more suitable for the career field.
PSAT, ACT, and SAT Resources for Homeschool Testing
The PSAT, ACT, and SAT are important tests for high school students. These tests are used by colleges and universities for determining admission. Oftentimes, students will not be able to apply without supplying an SAT score. While the SAT is generally the accepted test for many colleges and universities, students need to check into potential colleges regarding which test the school prefers or requires. Certain colleges, such as those more focused on arts, may lean toward the ACT instead.
The PSAT, on the other hand, is not a required test and does not usually count for college admissions. However, because the SAT is such an important test, the PSAT is a helpful tool for giving your students practice. The PSAT can dramatically reduce nerves when homeschoolers go into the actual SAT testing session since they will generally know what to expect. Further, though the PSAT does not take the place of the SAT in terms of college admissions, the PSAT scores may help influence distinctions, scholarships, grants, and so on.
Here are a few websites for testing information, test preparation, and helpful resources for anticipating the PSAT, ACT or SAT.
How to Record Grades?
Homeschoolers are free to choose their method of record keeping. As long as the method of homeschool record keeping aligns with their state requirements homeschoolers are free to do what is most convenient for them. There are several tried and true methods that work great for homeschool record keeping:
- A simple spiral-bound notebook
- A teacher grade book – found at your local office supply
- An online grade book printable
- A spreadsheet for grade reporting (find a free awesome version below!)