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Testing
Many states require that homeschool students take a nationally recognized achievement test each year (usually in the spring). Even if not required, these tests help teachers evaluate progress and assist in curriculum selection. The test can be given by any "qualified" tester (anyone with a 4-year college degree, a full-time conventional teacher, or a certified teacher) - either at home by a parent/teacher, by a qualified friend, or by a testing and/or tutoring service. Some of the choices that meet the requirement are the CAT (California Achievement Test), the Iowa Achievement Test, the PASS Test, and the Stanford Achievement Test (which has more rules about who can administer it). Most tests total 4-5 hours. When given at home, you can spread the testing out by doing a section or two each day. The price range for Tests is about $25-$37 per student, depending on the test chosen and where you buy it.

The CAT/5 is offered in three formats. The most comprehensive test is the Complete Battery (K-12). It covers language arts, spelling, mathematics, study skills, science, and social studies. The Basic Skills (grades 1-12) test is the same test as the Complete Battery, without the science and social studies sections. The test requiring the least amount of time is the Survey (grades 2-12), which covers the same areas as the Complete Battery, but in a shortened, not simplified, version. All questions are multiple choice with one correct answer.

The PASS Test (Personalized Achievement Summary System), which estimates student achievement in reading, math, and language for grades 3-8, was designed to be administered at home and untimed.

Another test that can be administered alone, or along with the CAT/5, is the Test of Cognitive Skills, Second Edition. The TCS/2 is a one hour long aptitude, or intelligence, test that measures thinking abilities. Available for grade levels two and above, it consists of four subtests:
  • Sequences - ability to understand a rule or principle for a series of numbers, letters, or figures.
  • Analogies - ability to interpret literal or symbolic relationships.
  • Memory - ability to recall previously presented pictures or nonsense words.
  • Verbal Reasoning - ability to make deductions, analyze categories, and determine relationships and patterns.

Here are a few places to order standardized tests:

  • Bayside School Services, PO Box 250, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 ~ (800) 723-3057 ~ Offers the CAT and the TCS/2 tests. To order, send your name, address, and phone number, the test types and grade levels you want, and the week you want to administer the test, along with a check or money order for $25 per CAT achievement test, $15 per TCS/2 to be administered with an achievement test, or $25 per TCS/2 to be administered by itself.

  • Thurber's Educational Assessments ~ Homeschooling family provides C.A.T. TESTS @$23-$25 postpaid. Write to: T.E.A., 400 Clayton Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, email, or call (919)967-5282

  • Bob Jones University - Standardized Tests (Iowa, Stanford, Otis-Lennon, MAT) and Christian curriculum materials

  • Hewitt Educational Resources offers the PASS Test and Christian curriculum materials. Write PO Box 9, Washougal, WA 98671-0009

  • Virtual Knowledge at 200 Highland Ave., Needham MA 02194 1-800-301-9545 sells a test on CD-ROM. The test disc costs about $36 with s&h. HOWEVER, the test you use has to be approved by the NC Dept. of Non-Public Education.

  • Someone in your group with a masters in psychology or education could order the type of test that comes as one booklet of test questions covering all grades, with a packet of reusable answer sheets (usually 50). Initially these tests may cost over a hundred dollars for the set, but in subsequent years, it would be free. The results depend on the tester's comprehension. Two companies that sell tests of these types are: American Guidance Service, P.O.Box 99, Circle Pines, MN 55014-1796 and The Psychological Corporation, 555 Academic Court, San Antonio, TX 78204-2498. If you write to either place, use a school-like letterhead and ask for a testing catalog. When you get it, read the achievement test section.

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