Testing Level

Q. Which testing level should I use to show educational progress—the one for the current year or the year my child will enter next fall?

A. Homeschool students commonly study at different academic levels; this is customized home instruction.

Public school superintendents, however, receive evidence of progress, and they are most familiar with an age-based, grade-level system. For this reason, the best practice has been to first identify the student’s public school grade level and then contact the test publisher for specific ordering instructions.

In general, ordering the test for the grade a student is in or has just completed is the standard practice for most achievement tests–except one.

The Exception

There is an exception that may be creating some confusion.

An older, online California Achievement Test (CAT), 1970 edition, is structured differently. If you are testing in the middle of the school year, select the student’s current grade level. If you are testing at the end of the school year or between school years, select the next grade level for the student; not the student’s past grade level.

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.

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