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Assessment Tools

Assessment is the process of finding out what your child knows. This can be done formally or informally. For many homeschoolers, simply listening and observing what their children do is sufficient.

There are circumstances, however, in which more formal assessment tools may be appropriate.

Besides determining what your child knows now, there are two other primary reasons for assessment.

  1. To evaluate progress since a previous assessment.

    Portfolios are a popular assessment tool that many homeschoolers use for this purpose. In addition to samples of the child's work, the portfolio should include journal entries written by the parent. Periodically review the materials and journal entries and write a summary report. The summary reports will allow you to assess the child's academic progress over time. The summaries will also be useful for identifying academic strengths and weaknesses.

  2. To compare what your child knows to a benchmark or normed standard.

    Comparing your child to a normed standard usually requires formal testing. If you are measuring your child's progress against benchmarks, then the portfolio method may well suffice. If you wish to assess your child's grade level, IQ, reading comprehension, etc. you will likely need a more formal testing instrument. Some tests you can administer yourself; for others you will have to hire a certified tester or psychologist.

Related Resources

Diagnostic Practice Tests
Sample pages from several of the most common achievement and assessments tests.

The ERIC/AE Test Locator Service
"The ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation (ERIC/AE), the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the Buros Institute, and Pro-Ed (publishing) have collaborated to produce the most comprehensive test locator services available on the Internet. The Test Locator service is located in a subdirectory of the ERIC/AE gopher site, and contains several searchable testing databases, tips on how to best select and evaluate a test, information on fair testing practices, and connections to library catalogs that may be of assistance to anyone searching for specific test information. The Test Locator Service should prove to be a valuable resource for any researcher looking for proven or experimental criterion measures."

Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Tests
Texas State Assessment tests, available in pdf format, or they can taken on-line. For personal use only.


Answers to Your Questions About Homeschool Portfolios
Written primarily for homeschoolers in Maine, this page has some helpful tips about what to include in a portfolio.

Portfolio Assessment
A helpful article from HEM on portfolio assessment for unschoolers.

Benchmarks & Content Standards
Using benchmarks and content standards for curriculum planning and academic assessment.

Homeschooling Methods
An overview of the various homeschooling methods.

Your Child's Learning Style
Identify your child's learning style.

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