Thursday, October 31, 2013

Standardized Testing...Oh My!

I didn't think I'd do it...but I did. I ordered this for my kids and I'm so happy I did.

This week has been a bit chaotic. My mother in law came to visit and not only did I have to clean my house like you wouldn't believe, but I handed my kids over to her for administering the Stanford 10 standardized test. I ordered it through Abeka Testing.

WHY DID I DECIDE TO TEST MY KIDS

I really wanted to document their academic growth. My kids have been taking standardized test for years through the public and then private school system.

Both did relatively well in certain areas but it was hard for me to tell where they really needed the help.

Not only that, but I want them used to taking tests since testing is in their future with PSATs, SATs, CLEPs, DSST and AP exams I plan on them taking. I wouldn't want them unfamiliar with the process which would cause test anxiety.

ABOUT THE TEST

* To administer they want you to have a College Degree
* It takes 3 days and about 2-3 hrs per day
* There is no time limit on the test
* You mail it back to the scoring provider (in my case we used Abeka Testing)
* Scores come in 2 ways, I decided to get results both ways
* Do a test at the beginning of your school year - THEN do one at the end to see how the child has grown

WHEN TO TEST

After talking with my MIL I realized I started their initial testing WAY too late for my purpose. I should've tested them for their perspective grades in the very beginning of our school year. But now we are 90 days in. All I can do now is hope the test show some growth but to me the scores will not be a true indication of how much I grew them from the time they started homeschooling this July.

So I will test at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year in order to see how my kids improved their learning, what areas they need more help in, and to give them practice on taking standardized test.

THIS WEEK of insanity

Well testing was interesting. My poor MIL realized that my 10 yr old Speed Racer was finishing the test way too fast. After she reviewed some of his answers she asked him if he even read the passages and if these were his best answers.

Speed Racer said they weren't but he knows that stuff, why does he have to do the test. (my mouth dropped when she told me this)

But MIL an experienced educator told him, if he couldn't prove to her he knew it, what was the point in knowing them? After he thought on that, he asked her if he could correct his answers.

Then we decided to do school after the testing. I won't do this next time. I believe it was way too much and the kids did get their work done but they were grouchy about it. They didn't give MIL too hard a way to go. Thankfully, my Hubba took over around 8pm when the kids were getting off track.

As far as the rest of the house, dinner was thrown together 2 days this week, and we didn't eat until 9pm which is way too late compared to our 8pm dinner time (lol! I know but our schedule is packed).

DISTRACTIONS

My MIL was quite entertained while schooling Speed Racer and Tiger Lilly. My Speed Racer is so full of energy that I allow him 20 to 30 jumping jacks or push ups after each subject completed. But for his grandma he did several hand stands. Yep - this is why the kid didn't fit in at traditional school, he's got way too much energy.

Some major things that took us off schedule was the Stanford 10 test that was given to the kids and my crazy work schedule that had me working later than usual. But other than that, the kids had a great week.

However, I plan to take this Sunday off and sleep in, going to the late 6pm church service which they have dinner provided.

 

4 comments:

  1. Wow, that sounds like an intense test if it takes 3 days with several hours per day. I agree that it's a good idea to do the testing from time to time. I used the CAT test with my oldest and I'm glad I did. I wouldn't want to be required to do it all the time like public school, but it's nice to see the areas of progress and areas that could use some improvement. Plus, like you said, it's a good idea to have some test-taking experience just so they can see what it's like. Thanks for sharing your experience with it!

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  2. I agree, the test sounds insanely intense. My guys no way could sit for three hours in one shot. I'm in awe that yours can!!

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  3. I have allowed our cover school to administer the AT (through ABeka) test to my children. I also schedule no school for that week. They still do reading and Bible study, but no academics. Now we only do the test once a year in March. I use it to decide on the curriculum for the next year. This year my oldest is taking the Explore test which is for Middle School. I am not sure what to expect there. I have found that if I spend 30 minutes a day going over things that are the basics that my children learned (LEARNED) it helps reinforce their past education or curriculum. My children who are 5th and 7th, do a basic math facts sheet a week for simple addition and subtraction. This helps with the other math lessons they are learning. The same goes with doing BOGGLE game a week where they use thinking skills to find words. This helps too. Going over maps, grammar, sentence structure, etc. everyday or a few days a week have helped tremendously. These are not lessons, but reviews. I find fun ways to do this, even using idioms.

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  4. I'm more or less using these to figure out where my kids need more assistance and to help them prepare for some of the testing planned for High School. My Middle Schooler will be taking upwards to 4 CLEP test at the end of the school year (studying with her older siblings who are finishing up their AA degrees). So testing like this gets them used to the time. We also are doing a speed reading, logic course and Analytical Grammar is helping. I may steal your idea of the thinking games Mama Fry.

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