Homeschooling in Virginia

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 Testing Issues in the Homeschool
 Testing Services, Suppliers, & Resources

Testing Issues in the Homeschool Back to Top
ACT vs SAT: Key differences between the ACT and SAT
ACT vs SAT: which test is a better fit for your student? Students may take whichever test they prefer (assuming there are available testing locations for both tests). If you’re not sure which test your child would prefer, consider the key differences between the ACT and SAT. Some students find that the ACT caters to their strengths more so than the SAT, and vice versa. Need a quick side-by-side comparison of the tests? Check out this ACT vs SAT Comparison Chart.
Evaluating Our Homeschooled Children
Ginny Hunt
We've seen the various ways in which the state determines "achievement" and "progress" in a child's education both in the public school setting and the homeschooling requirements. Those options seem to be only snapshot glimpses into a child, without providing a full and true representation of any given child's scope of knowledge and learning. Tests are especially flawed in this area, yet provide one of the easiest and cheapest means of fulfilling the state requirement for "showing progress" in home education. While that remains a "hoop" Virginia homeschoolers may choose to jump through in order to continue homeschooling another year, the tests themselves don't really tell us how our children are doing. So how do we know if they are "doing okay?" To what objective standard can we measure them? Should we be measuring at all?
Homeschool Testing & Assessment Information
VaHomeschoolers.org
An overview of the testing and assessment requirements for homeschoolers in Virginia.
Home-Schooled Students and College Board Standardized Testing
A letter from Peter Negroni, Vice President, Teaching and Learning, of the College Board, addressing the procedure for students to take the PSAT/NMSQT, AP, or any other secure College Board tests.
It's Time for the PSAT/NMSQT
David and Laurie Callihan
Although this article has some outdated date information in it, it is a good discussion of the use of the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) for homeschoolers, especially those who are interested in qualifying for certain scholarships.
Pros & Cons of Standardized Testing and Portfolio Evaluations
Peg Watson
These are some pros and cons of meeting Virginia's August 1 requirement with standardized testing or a portfolio evaluation, the two most common methods. In considering the choices, keep in mind that the home instruction statute does not specify credentials for a test administrator or other evaluator and this is resigned to "the judgement of the division superintendent." Those new to homeschooling are apprehensive about this issue; those new to homeschooling in Virginia are also apprehensive about this issue; and those who've become seasoned homeschoolers in Virginia aren't any too thrilled with the issue either.
Students Against Testing
This website offers an alternative look at standardized testing. Students Against Testing was created to be a strong force against the score-obsessed education machine known as standardized testing. At the same time, SAT also exists as an advocate for bringing positive, creative and real-life learning activities into the schools.
Testing and Assessment: What Do the Tests Tell Us?
Many parents arrive in the world of gifted education with a report full of tests results, supposedly defining their child as "gifted." But more often than not, parents have more questions than answers upon receiving those test results. And just as often, the short answers from the psychologist, the school, the teachers, and other parents do more to confuse than clarify.
Testing in the Schools
John Holt
John Holt's article in which he lists questions that should be asked of school districts' testing policies.
The Case for Authentic Assessment
Grant Wiggins
Assessment is authentic when we directly examine student performance on worthy intellectual tasks. Traditional assessment, by contract, relies on indirect or proxy 'items'--efficient, simplistic substitutes from which we think valid inferences can be made about the student's performance at those valued challenges.
The Evils Of Mandatory Testing
David Weathers
As home schooling grows as a movement, there is increasing politics from anti-home school forces to try to interfere with or legislatively control home schoolers. This has come to include legislative attempts to force home school students to take standardized tests along with public school students. But mandatory testing doesn't work in public schools, and it won't work for home schoolers.
The SAT vs. the ACT: Which to Choose?
Colleges will accept either the SAT or ACT. So which should you take? It's all about the numbers. Some students end up scoring substantially higher on the SAT; others do better on the ACT. The Princeton Review Assessment (PRA) is designed to help you determine which test is better fit with your abilities.
What does the SAT measure? Aptitude? Achievement? Anything?
When the first SAT was created, it was named the Scholastic Aptitude Test, signaling that its creators and the education world believed it to be a test of aptitude, or, a student’s ability to perform well in college. Aptitude tests supposedly measure talents that indicate possible achievement in the future, while achievement tests supposedly reveal how much someone has learned in the past. All these years later, we know the test never really did measure anybody’s aptitude to do well in college.
What’s a Test? Why Unschoolers Test Scores Prove Nothing about Method
Linda Dobson
Most of us are familiar with the school perspective as so many of us have first-hand experience with it. It goes something like this: To learn, one must have a teacher dole out information. Your assignment as student, if you choose to accept it, is to work very hard to retain the information provided so you can score well on tests. When you score well on tests, you will be able to tack on four additional years of schooling by going to college. The better your test scores, the better the college you can attend. “Success” will ultimately be achieved when you getting a good job so you can make as much money as possible. Less familiar is the unschoolers perspective which goes something like this: “I would be against trying to cram knowledge into the heads of children even if we could agree on what knowledge to cram and could be sure that it would not go out of date, even if we could be sure that, once crammed in, it would stay in. Even then, I would trust the child to direct his own learning . For it seems to me a fact that, in our struggle to make sense out of life, the things we most need to learn are the things we most want to learn. ”

Testing Services, Suppliers, & Resources Back to Top
Catforms Testing Service
Catforms Testing Service offers the 1970 California Achievement Tests with their own answer sheets and computer scoring. Key features of this system include graphical results in color, cumulative comparisons from year to year, and a detailed analysis of strengths and weaknesses in each area of the test. In addition to the original 1970 norms, they also have their own norms, the Catforms Percentiles, which are updated annually from the tests they have on file. The Catforms Percentiles are not a national norm, but are useful in comparing your students' performance with others from Christian schools and home schools today.
Crosspointe Educational Services
Crosspointe Educational Services is a mail order service that offers state-approved Survey and Complete Battery California Achievement Tests (CAT) in an effort to meet your testing needs. Their flexibility allows you your choice of testing dates and the opportunity to administer the test in the comfort of your own home; or you may choose to test with your support group or choose someone outside your home school to test your student.
Curriculum Associates
Offers BRIGANCE Screening and Inventories products. Designed for use in elementary and middle schools, the CIBS-R is a valuable resource for programs serving students with special needs, and continues to be indispensable in IEP development and program planning.
Hewitt Homeschooling Resources/PASS Test
The PASS Test was developed specifically for home schoolers. It has certain similarities to other achievement tests in that it estimates student achievement in the subjects of reading, language, and math. But is has important differences. It introduces four major improvements over most achievement tests presently available. First, it was designed for parents to administer at home. This can greatly reduce the stress level of testing. Second, it is untimed, which helps students to relax. Third, the student's approximate achievement level within his or her grade is initially identified by use of a brief accompanying placement test. This assigns each child to a test level where he or she is more likely to succeed, and it also allows for shorter tests. Finally, testing results show overall achievement as well as performance in each subject. The test is standardized and children's scores are compared with both national and home-schooling populations. This does not mean that the test is nationally normed, but that the scores are equated to those of public school students taking one of the nationally-normed tests. The states of Alaska, New York, and North Carolina have officially approved the PASS Test for purposes of state reporting. In other states which require testing, you should check with your local school district to make sure it meets their requirements.
Piedmont Education Services
Piedmont Education Services offers the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ-III), along with test prep materials.
PLATO Learning, Inc./eduTest Assessment
PLATO Learning, Inc. delivers just-in-time online assessments that are tied directly to state and provincial standards. Their courseware includes thousands of hours of basic to advanced level instructional content for K-adult learners. They provide web based assessments that assist in placement, progress monitoring, and accountability requirements with diagnostic and prescriptive tests, simulated high-stakes tests, lesson progress tests, standards-based tests, and cumulative tests.
Testing and Assesments FAQ
Find answers to your questions about homeschool evaluation and testing in the state of Virginia.
Triangle Education Assessments
Triangle Education Assessments offers the Iowa Tests and Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement.
Trust Tutoring
Trust Tutoring offers an Evaluation of Basic Skills, a standardized test of reading, writing, and math skills for ages 3-18.


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