Determining the Need for Year-End Assessments
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As a homeschooling parent, should you use a yearly standardized test? Some states require testing. Mine does not. The longer I homeschool, the more I value a standardized assessment like the IOWA™. Here are six reasons I believe standardized assessments are a great value:

Number 1: I worry less at night about how my children are doing academically. Let’s face it—homeschooling is a huge responsibility. A test that shows me where my child performs among national averages eases my mind and allows me to focus on something more productive than worry.

Number 2: My children need to believe they're getting a quality education. They are very interested in knowing their strengths and weaknesses as compared to their peers. This is a great thing! It shows their interest in education and their desire to improve. If you provide your children with an outstanding education, but they perceive their education as lacking, they may also lack the confidence to pursue their God-given calling.

Number 3: Something might not be working. A few years ago, before I started homeschooling with BJU Press, I tried a popular math curriculum with a struggling math student. She loved it, and I loved that she was making all A's. When her tests came back with only three months' grade equivalent growth in a year, I researched curriculum and found a better one. When we're doing the teaching, it's easy for us to assume that because we covered it, our children mastered it. That's not always the case.

Number 4: Time is limited. Even though we would love to give our children a thorough education in every core subject plus art, music, and sports, there is only so much time in our day. Information gathered from tests shows us where we DON'T want to cut corners to save time. It also shows us where we should spend money first if the budget is tight. Perhaps a video teacher could supplement your instruction in weaker areas.

Number 5: Sometimes circumstances change. While we intend to homeschool our children through high school graduation, circumstances may dictate that we change our educational method, move from our current state, or verify our children's education in order to comply with applicable laws. Yearly testing (preferably with the same test) is especially important for students who may be below grade level because these tests can reveal growth (or lack thereof).

Number 6: It is relatively inexpensive. The most expensive part will be paying your tester, but many parents qualify to become testers themselves. Your homeschool group may even plan to take this test together. Group testing greatly reduces the expense of paying a qualified tester, and you may even get a small discount on the fee for access to the materials.

What about you? Can you add to this list?

By Cynda Moore
HomeWorks Consultant and Homeschool Mom
HomeWorks by Precept Consultant, Cynda Moore, KY


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