One of the things that we choose to utilize in our homeschool is a standardized test. We actually take these tests two times a year. Once in October and then again in late April. While we are not required by our State laws to take a standardized test, I choose to do it for several reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason is so that my son will have the experience of taking them. I feel this is good practice for the ACT and SAT tests that he may choose to take while in high school. Other reasons include things such as it is just easier to explain to friends and family that he is taking them and it also provides me with a benchmark of how he is actually doing in relation to other kids across the nation. It keeps me on my toes.
Now, while I do think it is good for my son to take these tests, I do not do what so many classrooms across the nation are doing. I do not teach to the test. So many educators and schools teach to the test so the students will do better. I feel they are missing so many important educational opportunities with the children by teaching this way. I know that many teachers do not like to do this, but are rather forced to do it by school administrators. I really feel for them.
I should also state that I don’t even make any accomodations for his Asperger’s . We do accomodate if absolutely necessary for his color blindness. After all, it isn’t fair to test someone on their knowledge if they can’t see the words without adjustments. Mostly this isn’t an issue, although it was previously when he took tests in public school. The school chose a green background on the computer and then highlighted words in yellow. Those just happen to be the colors he has trouble with when they are combined. He just sees blank spaces of white. The school didn’t want to make allowance for him, despite a note from his eye doctor. Long story there, and yet another reason I pulled him home for school.
Anyway, my point is that we just take the tests. So when I receive our results back in the mail, it is always interesting to me to see where my son lands, since we do not prepare for these tests at all. I also appreciate the recommendations that are made for him based on his test results. These generally validate my gut feeling of where he is, how he is doing and where we need to go.
Yesterday I received his results for the tests he took a few weeks ago. His scores were very, very good. We are very pleased. He rose 27 percentile points in Math since October. We worked hard on math this year and these results validate that work and the progress that was made. However, the part of the test I think I am the most excited about is his reading test. He increased there as well. But the most impressive part is that he rose in evaluative comprehension. This is huge for a kid with Asperger’s. Everything is literal to him. But we have been working on all parts of his reading comprehension. It was really nice to see that he really is making the progress I thought he was. It was recommended that we use a more difficult reading and literature program this next year. I had already planned on that. It was nice to have my gut feeling backed up. I know I need to keep trusting my motherly and teacherly instincts. They are accurate.
Now my son thinks this is just proof that he has successfully passed the 7th grade. I told him there are still a few days left in our school year. He needs to finish it out before we say he has passed and in now an 8th grader. After all, there are still a few more pages left to read and study in all of his books. And we like to finish our books in each subject. We should be complete this Friday…a week ahead of our calendared school schedule. Don’t you just love homeschooling?