Q. Which test level should I use to show educational progress—the one for the current year or the year my child will enter next fall?
A. Unless the test publisher gives different ordering instructions, a parent who tests now (during the school year) should use the test level for the grade in which the child is currently enrolled. If a parent decides to test a little later (after the school year ends, i.e., June or July), the student should use the test level for the grade he has just completed.
In general, testing for the next grade level, or the level a student will be entering in the fall, would not meet the homeschool requirement of showing academic progress. Students would be taking a test at a higher level on material they had not yet been taught.
Ordering the test for the grade a student is in or has just completed is the standard practice for most achievement tests–except one.
I’m aware of an exception that may be creating some confusion.
An older, online California Achievement Test (CAT), 1970 edition, is structured in a different way. You are instructed to order this particular test according to the grade the student will be entering.
Fifty years ago, when this test was first introduced, public schools tested for readiness for the next grade level. Today’s test publishers no longer do this.
The comparison group (norm group) for this version of the CAT is different from the comparison group for other achievement tests.
This older version of the CAT test is no longer published by the original company. It is now owned by a private company, Academic Excellence, that has converted it to an online test. Please contact them if you have ordering questions about this version of the CAT.
It is important to carefully read the ordering information for all tests. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the test provider for clarification.