18 May 2007


Yes, we test.

When we lived in Ohio we needed to have some sort of annual evaluation. After considering the options, we decided testing was the best option for us. Among other things, life is filled with times that a person is required to fill out a bubble test, and we'd rather have our kids learn to do that in a relaxed environment.

I've been on message boards with people who are adamently opposed to testing, and will go to great lengths to avoid it. I wonder what happens to those kids if they are confronted with, say, the written part of a driving test. Do the kids tense up? Mine would, given that introduction.

(By the way, if a lot were riding on the test scores I would probably have felt differently about testing. But we were in a situation that was pretty nonthreatening. And, having read through the various lower grades, my opinion of how well achievement tests evaluate a child's overall learning is fairly low.)

So, we chose the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, mostly because I could proctor it at home, which means that you can do it without having to find everyone's shoes.

Earlier in the year Kid1 asked if she could please take an Iowa Test of Basic Skills again. We've moved to a state that doesn't require testing (it does require keeping track of everything you do for homeschooling, which is a more harrowing requirement in its own way). We had skipped any sort of testing last year. So I said, sure, and Kid2 could take one, also. Kid2 was pretty excited about this, as it seems to grown up.

Alas, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, current edition, is not available in Missouri. The powers-that-be for the company do not allow it. You have to get an old version, and pay extra for hand scoring. And, although I'm pretty lowkey about letting the kids take an achievement test, paying an extra $20 a pop wan't that attractive. I had to find a substitute.

Enter the California Achievement Test. I ordered a couple of sets, and they arrived earlier this week. I ripped the package open and announced, "Hey, it's the tests! Wanna go ahead and start them?"

So, skills we are working on this week:

It isn't going to help to look up at the proctor/mommy and say, "that's right, right?" The proctor/mommy is just going to blandly reply that she isn't taking the test.

If you were in a real test situtation you couldn't read the questions aloud and keep up a running commentary, you know.

Also, snorting and laughing because you think the reading comprehension story is amusing is probably a no-no.

Especially laughing and rolling your eyes because you think a particular question is silly.
(That one is partially my fault. Back when Kid1 was taking the ITBS that I had to read aloud to her we came across a question that was so startlingly dumb that I burst out laughing. My bad.)

1 comment:

Tammy said...

We will be testing soon ourselves. It will be the first time for a couple of my kids and only the 2nd time for my 7th grader. Since I've never taught to the test and it wasn't required, I've just ignored them. However, since test taking is a skill in itself... and since I'm much more laid back with my younger boys in 4th and 2nd than I was with my older boys at that age, I'm kinda curious to see how they do. My guess is that they'll do much better than their poor hard-pressed older brothers would've done at that age.