Test-Taking Skillz

Standardized testing. Just that phrase can send chills down the spine, can it not?

In Ohio, homeschooling requires a notification of the intent to homeschool (NOI) to be sent to the superintendent of the school district in which you live, but that notification is not required until the age of “compulsory attendance,” which is if they are 6 by September 30. 

So even though we have been homeschooling since my oldest was born, and actively since he was 4 (we were a part of a Classical Conversations community for the past 3 years) this year was our first official year, where I had to send in a notification.

Also per Ohio law, to continue homeschooling next year, either a portfolio assessment or the composite score of a standardized test must be sent with next year’s notification. 

Toledo Public Schools, the district where I live, offers free standardized testing to all registered homeschoolers (which means Ethan is eligible but Naomi, who won’t be 6 until September 3 and has been doing the same work as Ethan, is not. All I had to do was send in the paper (which they had mailed to me) stating I wanted him to take the test.

Some parents are against the institutional government school testing homeschool children. The school district can then use those scores when they report that statistics of how well their schools did in testing. As dishonest as this may seem, it really isn’t illegal or wrong (because I’m sure somewhere in tiny print it’s stated that scores are taken from these tests may also be given to homeschool students who were never taught a thing from a public school teacher or class) and my husband and I have considered it and decided the free test is better than either 1) paying for a standardized test and administering it myself or 2) putting together a portfolio and finding a certified Ohio teacher to perform an assessment (and probably charge a fee). 

Others have told me that the school does not need to know his scores on the math and reading, they only need the composite score, and this way they will get more information than they need and that is wrong and I should not do it… But to me, that is ridiculous.

Now, I am a stickler for rules. I am part of a facebook group very knowledgible about Ohio Homeschoolong Laws, and I am aware that many school districts overstep their bounds in asking for information they do not need and assigning a homeschooling coordinator to sign letters excusing children from compulsory attendance. I was prepared to fight for my rights at the beginning of this year, and it was actually a sort of letdown after all that prep to have my school district do things the proper way. So letting them have his individual scores on reading and math hardly seems like an overstep to me.

All this to say, my perfectionist son (who gets upset if he gets 1 question wrong on a math test from the curriculum we use at home) was nervous about getting any wrong answers. 

I am proud to say he scored in the 80s and 90s in his Math and Reading and sub-categories. He was upset he didn’t score 100s, though.

I am, however, extremely disappointed with TPS. During testing, I asked what the process would be for getting his results, and I was told that the school was simply there to administer the test and had no part in receiving his scores and that the results would be directly mailed to me. However, when the results were mailed to me, they not only didn’t include the composite score I will need to turn in next year, they were on TPS letterhead… Clearly the schools got his score and typed up a letter with the results.

Now, I am not stupid. I can average the Math and Reading score to find the composite. I don’t appreciate being lied to, though. This cannot be the first time TPS offered this kind of testing tonnot know how the results would come back to me. 

Free or not, I will not be utilizing TPS again. I have a college degree, which is required for the administration of these types of tests, and I will either purchase and administer the test myself, or have the work reviewed at the end of next year.

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