Home schooling families are in the thick of standardized testing right now. In Colorado, home schoolers must take a standardized test such as the California Achievement Test or the IOWA, every other year beginning in grade 3. Coloradans may opt for their children to be evaluated as an alternative to testing. FACE has offered these services since 1996 and has supplied testing services to families all over the US, Canada, and Asia. Most use the CAT as it is slick and easy and less expensive to do at home. The IOWA has the added requirement of the necessity of the test administrator having a 4 year degree or Teacher's license. Both tests use the multiple choice-fill in the oval format. Some of the subjects covered are: Reading, Vocabulary, Spelling, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and Sources of Information; such as reading maps and using encyclopedias.
I've seen first time tester-moms get nerved out with worry over how their children will perform on these tests. One year, I felt that I had really blown it with my children as we didn't get done nearly close to what I'd hoped for the year. As it turned out they did quite well in spite of my fears.
Some families like to test their children each year, not just odd years, to see how the children are coming a long. Typically there are no surprises. You already know that your child is a math whiz and tends to have more trouble picturing spelling words. Perhaps you use the results a part of a decision to switch to another curriculum that may work better for your child's learning style.
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