There are some things that many of us have to deal with, regardless of how we feel about them. Mandatory testing of our school-aged children is one of those things that sparks a lot of heated discussion. People are oftentimes passionate about how they feel about standardized testing, yet it is still an event that many of us have to deal with.
Personally, I like the mandatory testing. Or should I rephrase that to say that I like what testing could provide? I like to know where my student is at and whether or not we need to focus on anything in the future. However, our focus in school is not all about testing. I feel that with the right standardized test I can get a pure look at my student’s overall development.
Most states have some sort of testing requirements. In Colorado I am required to have my students either complete a nationally standardized test at various intervals including grades three, five, seven, nine and eleven or have an assessment completed by a qualified professional. I then need to be submit the testing results to either the local school district, a parochial or independent school.
I have invested a lot of time perusing the multiple tests available for purchase. Some tests have administering requirements, others do not. I could take my student to a local testing center and have her assessed there, and pay a nice fee for doing so. Or as a Master’s Degree holder, I have the ability to order and administer any test that I have looked at thus far, which makes things easier for me and less stressful for her.
I am not certain which test I am going to order but I am leaning heavily on the ITBS-Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. It looks as though I can order it online, administer it over several days in timed increments, and then return it to the provider for scoring. I like how it provides a diagnostic look at how the student is progressing in key academic areas and traces student achievement.
Last year we were not required to have Bookworm Beauty tested as she was in the fourth grade. However, she was enrolled in a home school charter school that offered the ITBS testing for free. We had her take the test for our own records. It ended up being of great benefit to us because it helped us to see that she has progressed quite well and was above the average norms in virtually every area but one. She scored low in the capitalization portion of the test. This was understandable as she spent two years in a language immersion school studying Spanish and unfortunately the rules for capitalization in Spanish are quite different from English. I am thankful for the test as it helped us to identify a hole she had in her education and allowed us to focus on that area over this last year.
The tests are fairly inexpensive. At $29 for an ITBS test in her grade level, it is an economical record of her annual growth. I may end up administering it annually,qw regardless of the state requirements.
I’m wondering what tests others use and why…