I never liked taking tests as a child, especially the standardized test. It was so stressful. I was so concerned about how I would do on the test that it drove me crazy! Let’s just say that it didn’t help that I was a bit of a perfectionist when I was young. I had a hard time not answering all the questions correctly. I’m not anymore ever since I became a mom. Perfectionism went out the window!
I will admit that I’m not big on testing and never have been. I never felt the need to have my son tested especially because in the state of Tennessee we aren’t required to test and that makes me very happy!
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So Why Did I Decide to Take the Plunge this Year and Have Our Son Take a Standardized Test?
In the last two years, we had a lot of life changing things happen. Because of those life changes, the way we were homeschooling had to change. It was the right decision at the time. Even though we still have a lot going on, we’re working on getting back to the “normal” routine we were on before things changed.
We are still adjusting but getting there slowly. We are trying to get back into somewhat of a routine. Because of everything we have been through the last couple of years I wanted to reevaluate where our oldest was in regards to his studies. I wanted to figure out what his strengths and weaknesses were so we can customize a plan of action for him and work from there.
I know that having him take a standardized test will only show us a small portion of what my son knows, but at least it will give me a starting point. Even though I’m not required to test by my state here are 5 reasons why I decided too.
5 Reasons To Test Even When It’s Not Required
1) So my child can experience and practice taking a test.
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We are living in a world that values tests. So it’s important for us to have our sons have experience taking tests. It’s also good for them to practice and get used to it as well. We aren’t sure what the future holds for our sons or if they even will go to college but we want to prepare them either way in case they will have to take the SAT/ACT test. We also wouldn’t want our son’s first experience with a standardized test to be taking the SAT/ACT test.
2) To identify areas of weakness.
In taking a test like this it can help bring to light the areas that my son needs extra help in. It will give me a starting point and I can go from there. It can show me some of the gaps that I might not be aware of so I can cover those skills or concepts with my child.
3) To identify areas of strengths.
The test can help identify the areas of strengths which will let me know what skills and concepts he has mastered. It will also encourage me to know that he is grasping what I’m teaching him.
4) To gauge how I’m doing.
I know that a test will not be able to show me the big picture. That it will only show me a very small portion of everything my child knows but it can give me a glimpse of what I might need to adjust, change or keep on doing. Every little bit helps! Doesn’t it?!
5) To prepare for change.
You never know what the future will hold. There could be a job transfer or a move to a different state for whatever reason. You might end up in a state that requires you to have your children tested. You just never know, so having your child practice taking this type of test can benefit them in the future.
On the Search for an Online Standardized Test
When we decided to test our oldest I was looking for certain requirements and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I would find what I was looking for. I was looking for something that we could do online, administrate at home, that’s untimed, short in length, that I would be able to pick the date and time best suited for us and affordable.
I thought that I was asking for too much until I learned about Affordable Homeschool Testing Services.
When I went over to their site I was impressed that everything I was looking for they provided. I was thrilled when given the opportunity to have my son tested using their services.
Have I said that I’m not big on standardized testing? It wasn’t until this year that I took the plunge and decided to test my oldest for all the reasons I shared above.
I’m not against testing but I don’t believe that a standardized test is a great assessment of what my child knows.
Let me share 5 reasons why I like Affordable Homeschool Testing Services
1) You can take the test from the comfort from your own home.
Being home and in a familiar place can calm down your nerves quite a bit. Your child will be able to relax and be comfortable when taking the test rather than being in a cold classroom.
2) It’s an untimed test.
That alone had me sold! In not having the pressure of being timed allows a child to answer the questions the best they can rather than having them guess and rush through the test. PLUS you are allowed to take as many breaks as you need to.
3) The length of the test.
The tests are spread out between two to three days depending on what you are testing your child on. Each test takes about an hour or so to complete and you only test one subject a day.
4) You schedule your own testing time.
When you book your child to be tested you are shown a calendar with the available dates and times. I love this because you have the freedom to work the testing session into your schedule. There is no need to worry about being assigned a time that is not convenient for you.
5) You receive thorough test results.
Within a couple of days, you will receive an email with login information to access the test results which explains in detail the skills and concepts that needed reinforcement, developing or need to be introduced further.
6) It’s online.
I loved that there was no paperwork involved which meant there was no need to mail out any forms. Everything was done online which made it easy and accessible.
7) It’s affordable.
Affordable Homeschool Testing Service is exactly that, affordable! The cost to take the NWEA MAP Growth Testing Services is $60. If you have more than one child testing, they do offer a family discount which should be suitable for any size family.
What Your Child Needs to Know Before Taking the NWEA MAP Growth Test.
If your child has never taken a standardized test before you need to prepare them for the test so they won’t be caught off guard. Affordable Homeschool Testing Services provides you the opportunity to do a practice test a week before testing day. It will give you and your child an idea of what type of questions they will be asking on testing day.
Also, go over testing skills with your child, such as reading the directions and questions carefully, teach them how to answer a multiple choice question and pay attention to details just to name a few. It may sound silly but it’s important that you go over it with them especially if this is their first time taking a standardized test.
If you have a child that’s a perfectionist make sure that you let them know that the NWEA MAP Growth Test will ask them questions they do not know. Explain that it does that because it’s adjusting to the level that they are working at so if they don’ t know an answer to the question it’s okay.
Make sure to continue to encourage them because it’s easy for them to fall apart when their confidence is shaken and they want to answer all the questions correctly. Actually, this can happen with any child but especially with the perfectionist.
Ask me how I know?
All in all, it was a good experience. It helped me come up with a plan to help my son in the areas that he needed improvement in and concepts that I need to teach him, where I needed to.
Even though Affordable Homeschool Testing services may not 100% prepare your child for a standardized test that is timed, for example, the SAT, it’s a great beginning. Not only so, but it also excellently lays a good foundation for any testing situation and helps to settle and bring comfort to the child, and then even though it is not timed or does not suggest a specific timing pattern for its testing, parents certainly can still utilize it and introduce timing on their own to their children if they so desired.
I encourage you to give Affordable Homeschool Testing Services a try. I’m glad I did! It’s affordable, easy to use and can be done from the comfort of your own home it can’t get any better than that. It’s an excellent tool that delivers on the goals of our family in this arena and what it seems they intended it for.
Jessica is a follower of Christ, wife, and mother of three energetic boys. She writes about homeschooling, frugal living, motherhood, intentional living and everything in between. Her heart is to inspire and encourage others to live an intentional life.