Q. When should homeschoolers test?
A. If you decide to use a standardized achievement test, the law requires you to provide a composite test score in or above the fourth stanine (23 percentile) by August 1 each year (§22.1-254.1 (C). It’s up to each parent to decide when testing takes place. Some parents test early in the spring and others wait until school is finished in June. Academically, it doesn’t matter, since your child’s results will be compared to the results of students who are about the same age and who took the test about the same time.
Other factors to consider are how you are planning to test and with whom. If you will be testing with a group–perhaps a support group or co-op–then of course you will need to go by their schedule. If you are using a test that allows you to test your own children, you have more flexibility—you can decide when your children are ready.
Another thing to research is how long it will take for the testing company to score and send the results back to you. Either call them or check the testing company’s website for this information. Typically, it will take from one week to a month to score. Also factor in three to seven days mailing time.
If you’re concerned that your child may not do well, be sure to give yourself enough time to receive the results and decide if you might need to use another method of evaluation.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to test!
For more information about testing, see the testing section of our website.