Homeschooling

MAPS Standardized Testing for Homeschoolers

If you have spent any time on my blog, then you know I firmly believe that your child is much more than a score on a standardized test. Your child is a creative, unique, and sparkling individual with a plethora of personality that cannot be measured by a test.

But that doesn’t mean testing is a bad thing. It just isn’t the only thing.

Standardized testing can provide valuable feedback about your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. For the homeschooling parent, these strengths and weaknesses are usually not a surprise but testing results can help pinpoint specific areas that might require extra support in the future.

I live in a state that requires annual standardized testing so I administer a standardized test each year. The scores my children receive for various subject areas typically do not provide helpful feedback or information, but they have met the state requirements in North Carolina. I have researched testing options that provide more specific and valuable feedback but they are usually quite expensive.

But this year, I came across a solution that was affordable and would provide valuable feedback.

In my research this year, I came across the MAPS Testing option through Affordable Homeschool Testing Services. I was immediately intrigued by the fact that the testing is computer adaptive and tailored to my child’s learning level. One look at the sample score report and I knew this test would provide more valuable information than the options we have tried in previous years AND it was affordable.

I contacted Affordable Homeschool Testing Services and asked them if they would provide our family with testing services in exchange for my honest opinion and review of their product. They agreed and I scheduled a time for testing.

{Read my full disclosure.}

Homeschool Standardized Testing: What is MAP testing?

The MAP® GrowthTM is a nationally-normed interim assessment by NWEA ®. This test is computer-adaptive which means that it adjusts to your child’s performance as they take the test. (MAP stands for Measure of Academic Progress)

The test is tailored to your child’s learning level so it can precisely measure their academic performance and track growth efficiently.

Your children take the test on the first 2-3 mornings of the week. By Friday, the parent will have the results. Included in their result packet in addition to their scores is information about what they are ready to learn next.

Best of all, your child can take the test in the comfort of their own home using a laptop, iPad, or Chromebook. My children are iPad natives and the option to use the testing app was one I appreciated.

Affordable Homeschool Testing Services offers MAP Growth Testing with detailed reports at an affordable price for homeschool families.

Homeschool Standardized Testing: Before the Test

Testing is required in North Carolina and the Affordable Homeschool Testing site had all of the information I needed to know in order to meet the requirements specific to my state. If you are in the same situation, you can look up the requirements for your particular state. I had to register my children for the math, reading, and language sections to meet my local requirements.

Once I knew what tests to order, the process of registering my children was simple. I selected the dates and times that worked for our family then entered my children’s information. I was able to describe special testing circumstances for one of my children. (more information below)

The confirmation email included important information about the testing environment, what to expect, and instructions for test day. The email emphasized that my children would be given questions that would be too hard for them so that their level could be accurately determined. I made sure to convey this to my children so they knew some of the questions would be too hard.

In addition, there was a link to a practice test so that my children could practice using the tablet or laptop to answer questions. It was helpful so they could learn how to select the right answer or “drag” the answer to the box when necessary.

Homeschool Standardized Testing: Children with Special Needs

I appreciated that the registration form included a section to describe the special needs of any children in my house. I described the accommodations I have made for teaching and what I thought she would require for this testing experience.

I received a phone call in the next day to discuss the accommodations that I could use. The test is already untimed and breaks are allowed. In addition, we talked about math accommodations and worked out a perfect solution so the results would be accurate and my child would feel supported.

All of the information about accommodations can be found on the Affordable Homeschool Testing Services website.

Homeschool Standardized Testing: The Testing Experience

Testing mornings ran quite smoothly. My children took the reading test on Monday, the math test on Tuesday, and the language test on Wednesday.

At the appointed time, I made a phone call to receive the password for my students. I was given basic instructions and they were approved to begin testing. All four of my children were able to log in and test at the same time.

Two children used tablets while two used laptops. The testing process was smooth on both. We had one glitch occur for my son on the math section one day. I called and it was immediately corrected so my son could continue.

Each day required approximately 45 minutes to 60 minutes for testing.

NOTE: I did warn my kids to expect about half of the questions to be too hard for them. The math day was particularly hard and required reminders. I think that it is very clear in math when a problem is too hard. Math day required an extra reminder to expect difficult questions and encouragement to keep at it.

Standardized Testing: The Results

Affordable Homeschool Testing Services promises MAP testing results by Friday of testing week. My children’s scores arrived in my inbox by Thursday afternoon and a follow-up email with more information arrived on Friday.

I received much more than just simple test scores. In addition to percentiles and Lexile ranges for each child, I was provided with additional information about my children in math, reading, and language.

{See a sample score report here.}

For each subject, the final report included information on my child’s proficiency in mathematics, reading, and language. Skills and concepts in these subject areas were divided into three categories:

  • skills and concepts to reinforce
  • skills and concepts to develop
  • skills and concepts to introduce.

These lists will be very helpful for me as I plan next year. For example, I have children who will benefit from some review of “editing for subject-verb agreement”. I will find a few fun ways to incorporate editing into our copywork using some of the skills suggested in the test results.

Of course, while test scores aren’t everything, they do help me as I plan our year when I keep them in mind as one part of the picture of education in our home.

Based on our results I know that our Brave Writer Lifestyle has paid off in reading even though we don’t use the testing style “comprehension questions”. I also know that we will spend more time exploring math concepts that will benefit everyone.

Homeschool Standardized Testing: My Final Thoughts

I was pleased with the testing experience from Affordable Homeschool Testing Services. It was easy to schedule and implement. The customer support was top notch and everything flowed very smoothly.

My kids and I were new to MAP testing and everyone was happy with it. I am glad that the test focused on three subject areas instead of several. I didn’t mind that science and social studies weren’t specifically tested. In fact, I preferred it.

The amount of testing time was also quite reasonable because it only took about an hour or less each day.

Finally, being able to test on their tablets was a helpful option for this generation of iPad natives in my house. I was glad this was an option.

In the end, the results of our MAP testing equipped me with valuable knowledge about my children and their academic skills. I will use this knowledge to plan a few new additions to our curriculum next year. I appreciated Affordable Homeschool Testing Service for the ease of use and wealth of information I received.

Do you use standardized testing in your homeschool?

 

 

Previous Post

No Comments

Leave a Reply