Every year I see new(er) homeschoolers in a tizzy about the annual assessment.
Yes, it's new to you. Yes, there is a huge range of choices so it can be overwhelming. However, it really isn't a big deal. Your child's performance on the assessment does not determine if he/she "passes" or moves on to the next grade level or if you're a good homeschooling parent or any of that.
How do you go about making other choices for your family -- their healthcare, where you live, what you eat, what clothes to buy, or how to manage your family finances?
If you are the research type, look into the various types of tests to see if one covers the subjects and provides the kind of feedback you want. If that's not a good fit for you, look at the long list of teachers who offer evaluation services. Email or call a couple and have a discussion. Ask about their teaching experience, what their approach is to the evaluation and what kind of information they want to review, costs, availability, etc.
If that’s uncomfortable for you, pick a test or evaluator at random or use some other criteria. See how it goes.
If you aren’t satisfied with the test result or evaluation, pick again and have a do-over. No matter how the assessment goes, the results remain private. Pop it into your child's portfolio and keep it in a safe place for two years.
I have complete faith in you that you can handle your child's assessment in whatever way you think best.
YOU CAN DO THIS.
The high-stakes testing environment of public education has likely influenced families into stressing about their homeschool assessment.
Remember, homeschool has no requirement to replicate public education – not the pedagogy, standards, curriculum, scope/sequence, calendar, daily schedule, testing, or anything else.
No pressure. There isn’t a judge that will stand over you and approve or condemn you. Your child’s future is not at risk, nor is your home ed program.
Try to think of the assessment as an opportunity for feedback, to have a third-party provide information about your child’s progress. You can use it to make adjustments for the next year or for tweaking curriculum and learning plans.
Some families think of it as a way to look back and reflect on the growth of the past year.
If nothing else, it simply fulfills a legal requirement. Done.
It’s all good no matter how you decide to satisfy the annual assessment. There is no wrong choice or bad outcome. There is no “best” method, test, or evaluator. What is best is whatever works for your family.
By Michelle Levell