April 28, 2010

Testing

My kids have never done any standardized tests before this week. In Nevada, we never needed to even think about it, really. I did have the thought last spring that maybe I should have Charis and Tobin tested, just to see how they did, but when I realized the test dates for our homeschool group were the week before my due date with Lucan, I decided not to bother. Good thing, too, since Lucan arrived just a few days before the testing began!

So anyway, we moved to Ohio, which has considerably more paperwork involved when it comes to homeschooling regulations, especially compared to Nevada, where we filed one "notification of intent to homeschool" letter when our child turned 7 years old. ONE letter. ONE time. NOTHING else needed, ever. Not that it's all that difficult here in Ohio, but we do have to file paperwork with the local school board every year. Now that we're no longer going to be first-time filers, we have a few options to fulfill one of the requirements for showing that we are indeed capable of making sure our children are smarter than the average banana.

While I appreciate the option to submit a written narrative along with a portfolio, and I do like that it is an alternative to standardized testing, I decided that I could not trust myself to hang onto enough significant pieces of paper, make an appointment with someone who doesn't even know our family, and have that person make a judgment on our children's academic progress. So a portfolio assessment was out as far as I was concerned.

The easier of the two options, though admittedly more expensive, was to sign the kids up for testing. I ordered the Spectrum Test Prep booklets from Timberdoodle, which we started working on about a month ago, a few pages at a time, just to give the kids a taste of what the test experience would be like.

We have now finished 2 of 3 days of testing. The kids are loving it! Well, perhaps not the filling in the bubbles part. But they've met some new friends and love getting to hang out with other homeschoolers during the many breaks they enjoy during the day. (As a side note, I have no recollection at ALL of ANY breaks during my elementary testing experiences, LOL.)

Charis had some major test anxiety ahead of time, despite my best efforts to assure her she did NOT have to get every test question correct. She was in tears any time she missed a sample question, and I was about to despair of her ever making it through the SAT or ACT with feelings intact in the next decade. But thankfully she seems to be over that hump now and is taking on the mantra Tony Horton chants in his workout DVDs: Do your best, and forget the rest! Mostly she's just been thrilled to meet some other homeschool girls and make some new friends. In fact, I am pretty sure that the kids will end up saying this week has been one of the best school weeks ever!

Considering the minimum COMPOSITE test score is the 25th percentile...I'm pretty sure we'll be OK. Not to brag or anything, but our kids do seem to be smarter than your average banana!

2 comments:

The Litwillers said...

I'm thankful Wisconsin does not require testing, although some of my fellow homeschooling moms subject their children to it anyway. When I was a teacher, I would puruse the tests to see what the kids were "supposed to know." I was amazed to find out how little of what I taught in my subject was actually on the test, but somehow I was told the students scores in social studies improved after I started teaching there. I'm really not sure how that happened :)

taylordi said...

When students have a good teacher who cares about them they do well and learn which is really the most important part no matter what NCLB says. One reason I like teaching kindergarten no testing or at least until this year where our district is norming a standardized math test for the U of O and kinders are included. It's crazy!