Mayday! Mayday! The end is near!
At least that’s how many of us feel as we are evaluating progress and starting to seriously look ahead for next year! Are you wondering if you really finished anything or if you spent most of your time spinning your wheels? Maybe you’re just thinking that you really aren’t sure how the kids “measure up” or want proof of it!Are you thinking you may need to adjust the level of curriculum you’re using? Wanting to know how to figure out if remediation is needed and where? Do you have a student with special needs?
Although some families choose to test in order to meet state requirements, these aforementioned concerns are other justifiable reasons you might choose to test in your home school.
Don’t stress, send out smoke signals, or any other warnings of distress just yet! What you could do to feel better prepared as you begin looking at curriculum, setting goals, and deciding how to attack the upcoming homeschool year is to consider assessing your child’s skill levels now.
If you have a student with special needs and you’re just beginning homeschooling or are about to create your own homeschool IEP (also known as an IHEP or SEP), an excellent starting point is to consider renting a Brigance test. Brigance Diagnostic tests are also often used in public and private schools to aide in developing goals and objectives for students. They are scripted, which makes it easily administered at home by parents, and the answers are teacher recorded instead of student recorded.
HSLDA members can rent Brigance tests here at a much discounted rate. It can be used for special needs students and typically developing students as well. You may even prefer to purchase this test from Curriculum Associates to have as your own so that you could gauge process throughout the year over and over again.
Here are the 3 different Brigance tests that are offered:
YELLOW BRIGANCE ASSESMENT KIT Inventory of Early Development (2010 updated version), for birth to developmental age seven. This test assesses the following skills: gross motor, fine motor, speech and language, general knowledge, readiness, basic reading, manuscript writing, and basic math skills. You can administer the entire test or choose specific sections that are appropriate for your child.
GREEN BRIGRANCE ASSESSMENT KIT Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills (2010 updated version), for pre-kindergarten through 9th-grade level. The Green Brigance provides grade placement tests in several areas such as word recognition, oral reading, reading comprehension, listening, spelling, writing and language mechanics, number sense and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and probability. You can administer the entire test or choose specific sections that are appropriate for your child.
BLUE BRIGANCE ASSESSMENT KIT Transition Skills Inventory, this test is designed for older students. As the name suggests, it assesses daily living and employability skills to help middle and high school students gain independence.
If you want a quick check to see how your child is performing compared to his peers around the country, one option is the California Achievement Test. This test, while less analytical than the Brigance, will give you good information about where your child needs extra work for the next year.
This end-of-the-year test would be great to give each year, if you can, whether your state requires yearly testing or not. This just gives you a benchmark each year to see how your child is doing, for your information only. Sometimes all you need is a brief, informal assessment. You can find additional testing options and informal assessments to help you on HSLDA’s Struggling Learner website.
HSLDA’s Toddlers to Tweens consultants have compiled a plethora of information and testing links for year-end assessments, helpful tips, descriptions, and fees all in one convenient place for families with preschoolers through middle schoolers! And for those of you with high school students, you’ll find plenty of options on HSLDA’s Homeschooling Through High School site.
So, as this year’s mission comes to a halt, take a few minutes to breathe and refocus. Know that you have a support system with us here at HSLDA and with so many other homeschooling families. Let us come alongside you. If this year didn’t go as planned, get a better strategy for next year, set new goals, and try again. God’s mercies are new every day; bask in them.
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka.