The past several days have been standardized testing days around here. Most homeschoolers around us seem to choose the portfolio review option (Ohio gives three options for homeschoolers: A nationally normed standardized test, a portfolio review by a certified teacher, or another assessment agreed upon by the school district and parents). Because Jedi has a form of autism and is on an IEP, I wanted some solid data about what he has learned and what he still needs to learn, so we chose to do the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. We get our results in 2 weeks or so, and I’m looking forward to seeing where his strengths are (I’m already going to guess science and social studies are going to be strengths) and where he might need additional help (I’m guessing spelling, listening, and math since those things are all affected by his dyslexia and auditory processing issues). Not only will the tests give me a starting point for next year, but it gives us some solid data for his IEP team.
Now most everyone who knows me might be very surprised–I am fairly anti-standardized testing…or rather, against how standardized testing is usually done. I don’t believe that teaching to the test and using test scores for school funding are good uses of the test. But, to get data on how to help a child or to tailor their education to accentuate strengths and intervene with weaknesses seems to be a good way to use the test. We did not teach to the test this year and Jedi didn’t even take a practice test or any “test prep” materials. Jedi didn’t even know he was taking the test until a couple days before.
He took the test by himself, allowing him to concentrate on his test instead of having to face anxiety about the proctor going too fast for him or not understanding something. His IEP has several other accommodations for testing that he didn’t even have to make use of. I’m really proud of how well Jedi seemed to do and how seriously he took the test. And it didn’t hurt that he got to go outside and play after each sub-test. 🙂 It was pretty laid back and relaxed–20 minutes of testing, then an hour of playing outside to refocus him. 😀
Here are some pictures of Jedi’s week before he started the tests…