To test or not to test?

homeschool testingTesting is a controversial subject even within homeschooling circles. For many, testing is a means of scoring achievement in a mass produced way. If this is true, then homeschooled children who are watched and worked with daily by their mentors (parents) would have no need for testing. Unless, there had to be proof of achievement.

I believe this is where most homeschoolers agree. Testing is not a necessary aspect of education as long as a child is achieving and learning. A parent can use informal methods of assessment such as label the states on this map, or dissect this flower and tell me the names of each part.

Assessment is useful, but paper pencil testing isn’t always necessary. For example, when learning how to write – a paper pencil test isn’t the best measurement. However, actually writing and using the skills for authentic assessment is more applicable.  In fact, if I can teach my child how to write an essay to describe a particular learning experience, then the student will have to use many levels of thought instead of just answering rote memory questions on a test. It is so much better, to somehow get the student to internalize the knowledge instead of just memorize it.  I personally believe that once my child enters high school testing becomes a necessary evil. If the student plans on going to college a transition to typically formal testing must be made.

However, for homeschoolers the state will often make this decision for us. If the state that you live in requires that you test either formally at home, or by using a standardized test you must submit to that standard.

What is your take on testing? Do you test your children with paper pencil tests? Or do you use informal testing?

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2 thoughts on “To test or not to test?

  1. Katie February 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

    We don’t do formal testing until it is ABSOLUTELY necessary per state standards. Where I am, that means at the end of 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th (?) grades. I agree with those that feel like as long as there are signs of learning and progress, formal testing isn’t really necessary. I homeschool because I’m not alright “with the norm,” so I don’t need test results to tell me my children are “normal” as far as their grade level knowledge goes.

    Having said that, I also agree with you that once the high school grades come around, testing is a necessary evil. Yuck. Lol. 😉


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