Q. How do I know what achievement test level I should order for my child’s proof of progress?

If you choose to use an achievement test to show academic progress, the Virginia homeschool law requires evidence that the child has attained a composite score in or above the fourth stanine on any nationally normed standardized achievement test, or an equivalent score on the ACT, SAT, or PSAT test. Standardized achievement tests provide results using norming data obtained from children of the same age and grade.

Typically, you would order the grade level your child would be in if he was enrolled in public school. If the school year has finished, order for the year he has just completed.

Achievement Test Level Exception

There is one online test that does it differently: an older (1970s), online version of the California Achievement Test (CAT)–originally published more than 50 years ago. There are some important things to consider if you choose this older, online CAT.

The online CAT test is no longer published or scored by CTB/McGraw Hill. It has been purchased by a private company and made available at a reduced price for homeschool families.

Although it has been normed more recently, its content reflects information that was taught in public schools in the 1970s. Curriculum and test contents have changed in the last 50 years. Experienced test administrators consider some sections of this version to be more difficult and other sections easier.

When this test was in wide use in the 1970s, it was the publisher’s policy to give the CAT test to students at the end of the year to determine if they were prepared for the next grade level. For example, students who were completing third grade would take the test designated as the fourth grade test because it showed preparation for fourth grade

Determining the level to order for the 1970’s online CAT test is based on the time of year you are administering the test. For this test only, we recommend you contact the test owner to determine the correct level to order. 

While this is the procedure for the older, online CAT, it is NOT the ordering standard for any other test.

Note:  The new CAT test that is now available is called the TerraNova 2/CAT 6. This up-to-date version uses today’s standard ordering methods–order the level for the grade your student is presently in or has just completed.

Check out HEAV’s Test Comparison Chart here.

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