Pennsylvania has acquired the dubious distinction of having some of the most stringent homeschool laws in the nation. Although the passage of HB 1013 gave homeschoolers a little more freedom, we still have a host of hoops to jump through.
One of the requirements that has been particularly challenging is standardized testing. PA homeschool law has three main criteria:
- Standardized testing is required in grades 3, 5, and 8.
- The test must be one of the tests approved by the PA Department of Education.
- The test must be proctored by someone other than the parents.
The first two requirements aren’t difficult, but the third has proved to be a challenge.
On one hand, if we opt to have our kids complete testing in the unfamiliar public school setting, it is likely to negatively affect their performance.
On the other hand, most of the testing options that allow use at home require teachers or other professionals to administer them, which isn’t possible for many of us. I’m only aware of one option that can be administered at home by a non-professional person. Even then we have to find someone other than us to proctor the test.
This year I had the opportunity to use an online standardized testing service that offers a test approved by the PA Department of Education. This is the perfect solution for our needs, and I highly recommend it!
I received free testing services to facilitate this review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own; I was not required to post a positive review.
Online Standardized Testing for Homeschool
Affordable Homeschool Testing Services LLC offers online standardized testing for homeschoolers. This is a nationwide testing service that also meets the specific requirements of the PA Department of Education. (If you are a fellow PA homeschooler, you may contact Ellen via the website to verify this.)
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Testing covers reading and math, with the optional addition of language usage. Everything is completed online; students may complete the test using a laptop, iPad, or Chromebook. Super easy!
MAP testing is completed over 2 or 3 days, with the reading test on Monday, math test on Tuesday, and the optional language usage test on Wednesday. But don’t worry if these days don’t fit your schedule–you can make a custom appointment that won’t interfere with your other homeschool commitments!
On the scheduled testing day, the homeschool parent receives a phone call with some simple reminders (such as not assisting the child with answers) and the password for accessing the test. After logging in, the student is able to do some warm-up exercises to ensure they understand how the test works.
What We Love About the NWEA MAP Test
1. There are no educational requirement for parents.
As I mentioned earlier, many standardized tests that are available for homeschoolers require that the parent have a degree or that a certified teacher (or other professional) administer the test. I love that MAP testing has no educational requirements for parents, since the test is actually being administered by an online proctor! Huge plus!
2. The test is completely untimed.
Over the years I’ve observed that time limits make some students unduly anxious. They worry that they won’t get finished in time and rush through the questions, making errors they wouldn’t otherwise have made. This untimed test is an excellent choice for students who prefer to work at their own pace without the pressure of a timer.
3. Thorough test results
I can’t say enough about the amazingly thorough test results! A few days after Collin completed testing, I received a test report that was at least 40 pages long. Yes, really!
The report not only showed an overview of his scores, but also gave detailed lists of things to reinforce or introduce–all based on his test performance. This is very helpful for homeschool parents who may be worried that they are “missing something” in teaching their child!
See a sample score report (link at top of page).
MAP Testing Discount Code
From now until July 5, 2017, you can get $5 off when you use coupon code MAPTest17. Be sure to check out the discounted pricing for multiple students, too!
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