Testing 1,2,3...

These are some of the rowdies who kept our schooldays lively.
Today these are my three college students.


Many states require homeschoolers to take standardized tests. Happily, Indiana is not one of those states. Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons, since our oldest was in first grade, every other spring we've chosen to have our 1st-8th grade children take some type of standardized test. We've used both the Stanford Achievement Test and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

I've always dreaded testing years. When we had many children at home it was a logistical nightmare. Would we combine with several other families? Send the kids to a Christian school for testing? Test only our own children at home? (We've done all of these.) Somewhere along the way I became an official test administrator of both the Stanford and the Iowa test. And of course the big question - how to keep the little ones quiet and out of the way while I was administering tests to older siblings? (Answer: Grandparents!)

This year we're down to only one student needing to be tested, but almost accidentally, I stumbled on a painless way of testing! (Painless for me, at least. I'm not sure Ben would completely agree.) Oh, how I wish this had been available back when I had a houseful of rambunctious little people.  

What's this new method? Online testing, of course.

Brewer Testing Services offers a variety of test which can be taken either on paper or online. I chose to have Ben take the Stanford Achievement Test in the online format. The tests ran for three hours on each of two days. We picked the consecutive days and start time, and Mrs. Brewer, who holds a master's degree in Education in Curriculum and Instruction, administered the tests remotely. The whole process was flawless, and we received Ben's complete results in less than half an hour after he finished the final test.

The online test cost $40, which is about what it would have cost for me to administer the Iowa Test and send it in for grading.

PROS: Super easy to set up! Speedy turn-around on test results. Quick communication from the Brewers concerning any questions. Inexpensive. No requirements or training for parent. More time efficient than paper testing. Stanford Online is available for grades 3-8.

CONS: Some research suggests that children perform better on paper tests than on computer tests.
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