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Monday, June 28, 2010

Assessment Resource

Ugh. One of my least favorite topics... at least the standardized kind. I don't mind authentic assessments (portfolios, discussions, presentations, projects, etc). However, the standardized kind do send chills up my spine when I think about them....young children sitting at a desk, not allowed to ask any questions, taking a test that is 60 questions long in one sitting.

In many states, it is mandatory that homeschool children in certain grade levels take these standardized test. In order to prepare children for this experience, it is good to start "practicing" this format a year or two before the first required test, an introduction to "multiple-choice" testing.
You can download a few sample practice tests onto cardstock and cut the questions apart. It is better to  only put one question per card as not to overwhelm them. (I do a google search for "tennessee state tcap practice tests"  and find a wealth of resources to use.)

You can place the question cards in a small box to be used as another rotation in learning material. Put the answer to the question on the back (or create an "answer sheet") so the child can self-check. I often talk with my children about how multiple choice questions are worded and how they can be tricky. I also found a "bubble sheet" maker where I create bubble sheets so they can fill in the bubble to answer the question. Right now, I only do a 5 question answer sheet. When it gets closer to time for them to take the actual test, you will want to create longer ones to give them an idea of what to expect.


  1. I have to say that I am not a fan of standardized tests. I have never done well on them, yet I was always an A / B student. I clam up when it comes this type of testing and I read too much into all the questions. As a teacher I used to see my students struggling, especially with the length of time they are supposed to sit and take these tests. A good portion of the school year thses days are in preparation for these tests. Ugh! Have a great day!

    Mama Hen

  2. I totally agree. I do not think they are in any way a measure of a child's knowledge or intelligence. It is really upsetting to me that our state mandates that homeschool children are required to take these tests as young as third grade. It is so wrong!

  3. Thanks for stopping by Training Happy Hearts today - and too funny about your kkids and the Twinkie statement to the guy who was buying them. My kids have piped up similarly.

    I think your approach to the stamdardized tests is a fine one. I hated them even as a public and private school educator - both because I thought they were useless as an indicator of true learning and because I knew how much they stressed parents and kids - especially the kids with all that sitting. Not to mention the extra stress on teachers and admin... That being said, they were a required evil, so I did prepare my students for them in a variety of traditional and non-traditional ways. One thing we always did was learn chair and testing exercises - ways to relieve stress when sitting through the tests. I cannot say enough about this. We also played games to cover test strategies after I mastered whatever ones I thought would work best for any given multiple choice or essay test. And, we played games with practice questions, too... Good luck with your endeavors!

  4. This is such a great idea! I am homeschooling for the first time this coming up year...and looking forward to it! Tips like this are super helpful!