ASSESSMENT is observing and recording performance of skills and knowledge for the purpose of improving learning and instruction. Parents have a wide array of options other than traditional written exams. 

TESTING, part of the assessment process, is the administration of a single instrument for the purpose of determining a student’s level of achievement or functioning in one or more areas. For example, a teacher may administer a reading or math test; an audiologist may administer a hearing test; or a therapist may administer a language test.

Curriculum Based Assessment measures a student’s progress based on the curriculum used for instruction, also known as progress monitoring.

  •     Links curriculum and instruction
  •     Helps teacher determine what to teach
  •     Can be administered frequently
  •     Is sensitive to short-term academic gains.

Example: Saxon Math end of the chapter test

Criterion Referenced Assessment measure how well a student is doing according to some predetermined goals or set of outcomes (i.e. state standards).

  •     Scored by percentage of correct answers
  •     Looks at what the student can do or cannot do
  •     Helps to determine placement in subject areas

Example: Spelling tests, timed math facts test, driving exam

Portfolio Assessment is a method for keeping up with a student’s progress in selected areas by collecting data over a long period of time to demonstrate a pattern of improvement.

  •     Written work such as math sheets, essays, journals, writing samples
  •     Photos of projects
  •     Video of child completing tasks, academic presentations, play and performances

Standardized Assessments compare a student’s scores against the scores of a group of people who have already taken the same exam. Historically, trained professionals have administered these tests in school settings, but now there are options for homeschooling parents to give certain standardized achievement tests in the comfort of their own home.

Notes about standardized tests

  • The validity of the scores depend on many outliers such as time of day, distractions during testing, comfort of environment, attention span and focus of child, health of child. Learn more about how to prepare for testing.
  • Children with learning difficulties perform much better with one-on-one testing than group test settings.
  • Children under 3rd grade do not typically need standardized testing to determine ability level. See HLA Testing Policy
  • Scores assist in determining achievement gaps.
  • Scores are recognized by other institutions such as public school and colleges.

An evaluation usually includes a variety of assessments such as observations, rating scales, work samples, and standardized achievement and intelligence tests. The information needed will determine the kind of assessment chosen.

Types of Standardized Assessments

Achievement Tests

  •     Stanford-10 At Home Option
  •     Iowa Assessments Online from BJU
  •     Wechsler Individual Achievement Test- 3rd Edition (WIAT-III)
  •     Woodcock-Johnson – 4th Edition (WJ-IV)
  •     Wide Range Achievement Test-5th Edition (WRAT-V)
  •     California Achievement Test
  •     STAR Early Literacy, STAR Math, and STAR Reading
  •     TerraNova

Intelligence Tests (detail description of IQ tests); Misconceptions About IQ Tests

Entrance Exams  (assistance in navigating college entrance exams)

  • PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)
  • SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)
  • SAT Subject Tests
  • ACT (American College Test)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • AP (Advanced Placement)
  • GED (General Education Development)
  • CPT (College Placement Test) required by some community colleges