Q. I have a young first-grader with a short attention span. Can you suggest a test that is acceptable to my school district?

A. All standardized tests are acceptable; it is up to you to decide which test you would like to use. You might consider looking at the California Achievement Test (CAT). Most sections are a little shorter and have fewer questions than the sections on other tests. You can have him complete only one or two sections each day until the test is finished. Shorter periods of concentration seem to work well for younger children.

Reminder: If your first-grader was five years old last September 30, testing is not required for this school year. Whether he is in kindergarten or first grade doesn’t matter; it’s the age of your child on September 30 that creates the testing exemption. Form letters are sent out to ALL homeschoolers reminding them about testing—be sure he is required to be tested this year.





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  1. Tan ya Reese says:

    The Woodcock Johnson III is an excellent test. It is oral and written and lends itself well to younger children. It can be pricey but is well worth it. I have used it with my son every other year while also doning the CAT which is now the Terra Nova.

  2. Yvonne Bunn says:

    I agree. The Woodcock Johnson is also a good choice.

  3. Coralie Griffith says:

    Another option is to have a portfolio evaluation instead of a standardized test. This costs more than standardized testing, but for a student with very short attention or other challenges it is a very good option. To find a portfolio evaluator check the testing listing at HEAV.