In Ohio, homeschoolers are required perform some form of testing or evaluation for the previous homeschool year to include with the following year’s notification. We may use either the composite score from a nationally recognized standardized achievement test, or an academic assessment by an Ohio licensed/certified teacher, or someone agreed upon by both the parents and the school superintendent in your district.
One of the services PEACH provides to its members is our annual Achievement Testing in April. We have experienced testing coordinators who help parents order the proper tests, and PEACH arranges the time and place for children to take the tests with qualified test proctors. We use The Stanford Achievement Test from BJU Press Testing Service.
NOTE: A family must join PEACH by our January meeting in order to register for testing.
What is the purpose of standardized testing?
Basically, it provides a comparison between your child’s proficiency and other children across the nation taking the same test at the same grade level.
What does the school superintendent do with the results?
As long as the child’s composite score is not below the 25th percentile, he should not ‘do’ anything.
How do I report my child’s test scores?
Ohio regulations clearly state: “Results should demonstrate reasonable proficiency as compared to other children in the district at the same grade level. Any child that has a composite score at or above the twenty-fifth percentile shall be deemed to be performing at a level of reasonable proficiency.” It is important to report only the composite score on the Assessment Form available for download here- http://peachhomeschool.org/forms-download/
What if my child does not test well?
A composite score below the 25th percentile requires one of four options be exercised:
2) arrange for a narrative assessment
3) alternate assessment agreed upon by the parents and the superintendent
4) plan of remediation designed by the parents and submitted to the superintendent within 30 days of the request for remediation. PEACH would advise you to exercise option #1 or #2 and DO NOT report a composite score below the 25th percentile. Contact PEACH for a list of qualified assessors for retesting or a written narrative (our list of assessors is composed of PEACH members and former PEACH members).
What if I send only the composite score on the form or in my letter and the superintendent asks for the printout?
The form states: “The COMPOSITE results, of the _____percentile, demonstrate reasonable proficiency as compared to other children in the district.” If the superintendent will not accept this form, you should contact legal counsel (such as the HSLDA) for advice.
You may also provide the superintendent with a copy of your test scores, blacking out all personal information and scores other than the composite (or complete battery) score. Cover all the subtest scores allowing only the header showing the testing company’s name, the student’s name at the top and the composite score about halfway down the page to show. Make a copy and send that to the superintendent.
Are there disadvantages with standardized testing?
“Testing” of any kind tends to create anxiety. Standardized testing can only measure whether or not the child knows the material presented on the test. It cannot measure creativity, intelligence, good character, conceptual thinking, compassion, or initiative. It is tempting to try to ‘teach to the test’ so that your child will do well.
Are there advantages with standardized testing?
Test-taking is a skill that needs to be learned eventually. It is possible that the test will reveal an area of academic weakness. It is often the least expensive option.
Can students practice to take standardized tests?
Yes, they can. Some children who are uncertain about the format of standardized tests or who may need specific review of basic skills may benefit from practice. You will need to make an individual decision about whether or not to invest time and money on test preparation resources.
Following are a few resources to help prepare students for standardized tests:
2. Scoring High on the Stanford Achievement Test. This is sold by grade K-8 at Rainbow Resource.
3. Better Test Scores - This is sold by Bob Jones University Testing & Evaluation.
What is a narrative academic assessment?
In the simplest terms, an assessor looks over the child’s portfolio (collected samples of their school work) and signs the Academic Assessment Report form stating that “the child’s work has been reviewed and that the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities.”
Make sure the individual is a current Ohio certified teacher and is thoroughly homeschool-friendly (someone who has homeschooled themselves would be the best option, because of their understanding of the unique aspects of home-based education) and that they are accepting of different educational philosophies.
Your student does not have to complete their entire year of school work in order to use the narrative assessment option.
You should come away from the assessment encouraged with some helpful insights into your unique parent/student situation.
If you are not sure about which assessor to use, get recommendations from several veteran homeschoolers who have had assessments done. Interview different assessors, asking questions so you can be sure your philosophies of homeschooling mesh. Consider going to different assessors on different years for various insights and suggestions. You may contact PEACH for a list of qualified assessors who are currently PEACH members or are former PEACH members.
It is the responsibility of each family to call and evaluate if any given assessor will meet the needs of their family.
Are there advantages or disadvantages with the academic assessment option?
Some advantages are that the assessment is focused on your child’s individual progress, and is based on the actual work that your child has done that year.
Some disadvantages might be choosing and storing samples of your child’s school work for their portfolio, or because a human being is completing the assessment, their view of your child’s progress may be subjective.
Alternative Academic Assessment
An alternative academic assessment of the child’s proficiency mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent can also fulfill the state’s requirement. This could be, for example, a grade report from a correspondence school.