• Categories

  • Top Posts

  • © Holly Craw and Home-School-Community, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Craw and Home-School-Community with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

FAQ’s about Home School Testing

 

 QUESTIONS ABOUT HOMESCHOOL TESTING

Create a Page Jump

The link starts it (the ‘Click me’) is written like this:

<a href="#unique-identifier">Click me</a>

Note the #

The link where that goes to is written like this:

<a name="unique-identifier">See?</a>

The #unique-identifier matches the name="unique-identifier".

So you could have <a href="#another-identifier">Jump 2</a> to <a name="another-identifier">Place 2</a>

At the beginning of the post or page, add this before all of the other HTML:

<a name="top"></a>

and anywhere you want a link to zoom

  • Is standardized testing required in Arizona?    

  • What about the AIMS Test?
  • My student took some classes at Eaglerider, and now is required to take the AIMS test.  What is this all about?
  • Why should I test if Arizona does not require it?
  • Can I get the test and administer it myself in our home?
  • My fifth grader scored “Post High School” on the Stanford test.  Should I consider him a genius?
  • What is the PSAT and what is the reason for taking it?
  • How do the IOWA and Stanford Tests compare?

  

  • <a name="Is standardized testing required in Arizona?">See ? </a>

 

No.  Students were once required to test annually with the IOWA test, and parents also had to take the Teacher Proficiency test to have the right to home educate.  Arizona has gone through several changes in the public school testing laws, as they endeavored to find a test that would address the varied cultural populations and learning issues within the state.  As the laws changed, and homeschoolers had a strong record of doing well on the assessments, our testing mandates were dropped.  Many parents continue to do standardized testing for their own benefit, and we offer it at HSBR.  The results only go to the parents, never to any school or government officials.  One terrific reason for testing is to qualify for scholarships and honor societies.

 

What about the AIMS test?   

(Please see the official policy statement from Arizona Families for Home Education on the 
AIMS Test)
The AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) was created by the State Department of Education to ensure that all students graduating from high school had obtained some minimal  academic knowledge in all the key assessment areas.  This is for public schools students, and must be passed prior to high school graduation.  Homeschoolers are specifically exempted from this test by law.

The Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, some school districts, and perhaps county officials in other parts of the state, are beginning to offer this to homeschoolers at no charge.  Homeschool leadership in Arizona strongly cautions AGAINST taking this assessment for the following reasons:

The AIMS is a state developed criterion referenced test.  That means that is it only used in Arizona to measure the specific standards the policy makers have developed.  It will not give a broad-based measure against students across the nation, and thus may not be considered seriously in other states.  The IOWA and Stanford tests are nationally standardized, norm-referenced achievement tests, which have been tested on hundreds of thousands students for several decades.  These give a picture of what the current student knowledge base is across the country and how your child compares to the average in the same grade.

In other states, when the government has offered “free” services, gradually the benefits have had greater restrictions placed on them.  (California and Alaska are good examples.)

The more homeschoolers take advantage of these services, the more they will be seen by some legislators as a good idea for all students. Each legislative session, there are some who try to increase the state control over home educators.

Although high scores on the AIMS will net public school students fabulous scholarships at the state universities, this has not been tested out for homeschooled pupils.  Additionally, the Regents’ Scholarship (full tuition waiver to Arizona state universities) is available to any homeschooler who scores in the 90th percentile on the ACT or SAT, and exceptional scores on the PSAT bring a multitude of scholarship offers from around the country.

I have heard that there is a national clearinghouse of information on homeschoolers that is located in Washington, D.C.  All test scores and activities that are done through public school entities are funneled to this database.  What is done with this information, I do not know, but the potential for abuse seems quite large and real.

My student took some classes at Eagleridge, and now is required to take the AIMS test.  What is this all about?

Eagleridge is a program run by the Mesa Public School District strictly for homeschoolers.  Public school students are not allowed to attend.  It began as enrichment classes, and has grown to include a number of core subjects as well.  It is funded by the Average Daily Attendance funds that the public schools get, which is calculated in one-quarter time increments.  Students must attend for six hour blocks, as this is the equivalent of one-quarter time.  

In 2004, attendees were mandated to take the AIMS test.  This is totally contrary to the premise that only homeschoolers attend this school, and the law exempts homeschoolers from the AIMS.  Rationale from the school officials indicated that those enrolled in the program were no longer considered as homeschoolers, but as students enrolled in the public school program, and thus subject to all the state requirements.

The moral of the story is:  If you willingly accept educational perks from the government system, you have handed over your right to be excluded from their stipulations.  It doesn’t work to expect to have the freebies without also needing to be in accord with the letter of the law.

Back to top 

Why should I test if Arizona does not require it?

Standardized testing can give you a benchmark on your child’s abilities and progress.
Both IOWA and Stanford give a detailed report which can pinpoint areas of strength and difficulty for you to use in your lesson planning.
Test taking is a skill that can be developed.  It is needed for college entrance, college classes, employment applications, and professional standards for many occupations.
The results can give you and the student “bragging rights” <grin>.  Most homeschoolers score significantly higher on tests than their public school counterparts.  The longer your children are homeschooled, the further ahead they tend to be.
Although testing is not required in Arizona, it is in many states.  If you move, you will have some documentation to present to state officials.
If you plan to have your students go back into a traditional school setting, you may need test scores for proper placement, admission, or to keep the credits earned while at home.
Students who score in the 90th percentile or above on any standardized test is eligible to join the homeschool honor societies.

 

Can I get the test and administer it myself in our home?

Yes, if you qualify.  The IOWA and Stanford tests are available through Bob Jones University Press.  There are several requirements that must be met for each test administrator  (http://www.bjupress.com/services/testing/academic_testing/index.html).  Costs are $40.00 plus shipping for each test, and practice tests are $10.00 plus shipping.  (Please see our test fees for comparison.  CHSRC is now established as a proctor for testing done with the BJU programs, and we would love to take the hassle out of finding someone to administer your test.

My fifth grader scored “Post-High School” on the Stanford test.  Should I consider him a genius?

That score shows that he is very bright, and quite a bit ahead of his age-mates.  However, the grade equivalent is not indicative of the level of the student’s academic achievement.  It shows how well the average high school senior would do if he took the fifth grade test.  The scores are computed on a bell curve, and the average is based on what the typical fifth grader across the country would know.  If your student answers just a few more questions correctly than the average pupil, the comparative score could look like yours is several grades ahead in knowledge.

The tests are re-normed every 5-7 years according to what the typical fifth grader currently knows.  Unfortunately, in the United States, the knowledge base for the average student is getting lower, so it takes less knowledge to gain the same percentile score than it did ten years ago.  Thus the current scores are somewhat “watered down”, making the really bright students look light years ahead of their peers.

If you use the scores to confirm that you are doing a great job, that is terrific.  Keep up the good work, keep your student challenged, and develop a broader and deeper knowledge base so that he can benefit with scholarship offers when he takes the college entrance tests!

What is the PSAT and what is the reason for taking it?

The PSAT used to be simply a practice for the SAT college entrance test.  Now it is more than that, being the only test that is used to determine which students will be invited to take the  National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT).  Students who do well on the PSAT (90th percentile or better), will receive scholarship solicitations from various schools.  The students in the highest 2-3 percent will have opportunity to take the NMSQT, which may lead to even greater scholarship offers.  National Merit finalists receive substantial scholarships from the Merit Scholarship fund, and generally colleges will offer money from their pools as well.
Students may take the PSAT more than once, but it is official during the junior year, and is only given in October.  Any funding that is obtained through this means will be available two years after the testing (typically the freshman year of college).  In the past, the test could be taken as a senior, and any resulting funding would still be available two years later.
Set up in the same format as the SAT, the PSAT gives a good indication of how a student would score on the college entrance test.  Another benefit is to give the student some test taking practice.  PSAT Registration Form

Back to top 

  • How do the IOWA and Stanford Tests compare?
  •  

    Create a Page Jump

    The link starts it (the ‘Click me’) is written like this:

    <a href="#unique-identifier">Click me</a>

    Note the #

    The link where that goes to is written like this:

    <a name="unique-identifier">See?</a>

    The #unique-identifier matches the name="unique-identifier".

    So you could have <a href="#another-identifier">Jump 2</a> to <a name="another-identifier">Place 2</a>

    At the beginning of the post or page, add this before all of the other HTML:

    <a name="top"></a>

    and anywhere you want a link to zoom

  • What is the PSAT and what is the reason for taking it?
  • My fifth grader scored “Post High School” on the Stanford test.  Should I consider him a genius?
  • Can I get the test and administer it myself in our home?
  • Why should I test if Arizona does not require it?
  • My student took some classes at Eaglerider, and now is required to take the AIMS test.  What is this all about?
    • What about the AIMS Test?

    One Response

    1. […] FAQ’s about Home School Testing […]

    Leave a Reply

    Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    %d bloggers like this: