State testing can raise a lot of questions for people new to (or considering) homeschooling. We’ve gathered a list of the most frequently asked questions for your convenience:
- Are homeschoolers required to take standardized achievement tests, and if so, which?
The answer varies by state. However, Kansas and Missouri do not require state testing for homeschoolers unless they are using a virtual school or other publicly funded school.
In that case, they’re not technically considered homeschools, but offshoots of the public school system.
However, we recommend that area homeschoolers take advantage of standardized testing opportunities available just for them! We offer opportunities for homeschoolers to take the PSAT/NMSQT test in their high school years (it can help qualify them for national merit scholarships).
Afterward, homeschoolers who want to continue to college can take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (also called SAT) and/or American College Test (ACT).
- What are the reasons I should consider state testing?
It helps give you a yardstick for your child’s academic performance. Because public and private schools require these tests, this can serve as an independent, third-party assurance that your students are doing well academically.
These tests can also help reassure your extended family that your kids are doing well on a nationwide level.
Remember that the results are based on peer comparisons, not academic requirements per se.
While we often think standardized tests indicate how our child compares by grade level, they actually indicate how our child compares academically to other grade-level children taking the same test at that time. (Here’s a helpful intro guide from the HSLDA.)
Even if your child ranks less than average in a subject area, you may just need to concentrate more on that topic. Students often rebound in a subject once they’ve identified the problem and targeted it for improvement.
- My child has special needs. Should I register for state testing with a large group, or explore other options?
We recommend that you explore other options depending on your child’s specific situation.
This blog post was originally published in September 2015. We have updated it for timeliness and detail.