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If you live in a state without testing, do/would you?


elise1mds
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I'm just curious. My MIL is on my case, again, about having DS tested to see where he actually stands academically compared to his peers. I've told her I have no intentions of doing so, especially since he's still only in second grade and testing doesn't usually start till third, but it bugs her and she keeps bringing it up. I need you to tell me I'm not the only one that has no intention of testing, so I can show her this thread.

 

Alternatively, if you DO test without being mandated to do so, why? Honestly, I am curious. :bigear:

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I live in a non testing state and have not done any testing. We belong to a co op which offers inexpensive testing from 4th grade up (Stanford) so I will most likely have my 4th grader tested, mostly because he has some learning disabilities, and I want to track his progress over the years. Otherwise, I likely wouldn't do it.

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First, I'd tell your MIL to mind her own business.

Second, I'm the one teaching my kids, not somebody else. I know where they stand. They are where they're supposed to be. If I wanted to compare my kids to ps'ed kids, then I'd put them there. Kids are not one-size-fits all.

Good for you!

Edited by alilac
I pity all the women who deal with in-laws that stick their nose where it doesn't belong. Sorry you have to deal with this.
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First, I'd tell your MIL to mind her own business.

Second, I'm the one teaching my kids, not somebody else. I know where they stand. They are where they're supposed to be. If I wanted to compare my kids to ps'ed kids, then I'd put them there. Kids are not one-size-fits all.

Good for you!

 

:iagree:

 

I would only have my child tested if I (or DH) was worried about something. Maybe a test would make me feel better? (I doubt it, but maybe..) But I would not do it for my MIL or anyone else.

 

I think it is hard for that generation to not have those test scores, since we were tested like that all the time. Something about those percentiles and stanines make them feel reassured. :confused:

 

Only do it for your own purposes, and let your MIL know how you feel. She will continue to bug you about it until you talk with her. Have your husband talk with her too, if that will help.:grouphug: Sorry. I have one of those MILs, so I understand.

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Our state does not mandate testing, but I am having dd11 tested this year. We are only homeschooling for middle school as she has great choices for high school. She will need to have a 7th grade testing record prior to the high school admittance/placement tests.

 

We might have her start high school early (she's "old" for her grade level), so next year could be her "7th grade year" for testing purposes. I figured why skip a year, since she was used to annual Terra Nova testing at her former private school.

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I need you to tell me I'm not the only one that has no intention of testing, so I can show her this thread.

 

PLEASE don't show her this thread......lol! We need to keep the WTM board MIL free. :tongue_smilie:

 

I live in Texas, so no reporting or testing required. My oldest is only in K, but I will probably test every once in awhile (probably not every year), just for fun, but definitely NOT in 2nd grade!

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We live in a state where we have options (portfolio, testing and some others). I've always tested, only because I relate to numbers better than personal assessments from licensed teachers. I also like that the children get practice taking standardized tests. Those are our personal choices. I think it is a matter of personal preference and is ONLY the decision of the parents. MIL needs to leave the academics to you. Is it possible she wants the test scores so that she can brag to her friends or is it an expression of her lack of confidence in your ability? Either way, those aren't good reasons to deviate from your plans.

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I don't test. MO doesn't require it, so we have never done it.

 

However, I have friends who do. One friend test every two years. She uses BJUP for her testing materials. Some join a group in a different town just to pay for the testing that they administrate in the spring.

 

Their reasons are in case they put their children back into a traditional school. They would have a record and the school would be happy. Some do it so they can compare their children's results to other children.

 

Since my oldest is nearing college age, I often think about testing. However, we do not teach to the test, so it would be a big difference for my girls.

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I would rather not, but our state mandates it. However, even if it didn't, dh feels strongly that I should test the kids. One of his reasons is that he wants to make sure our children are getting educated enough (not trusting homeschooling), and the other is so that they can get the practice they'll need for more important standardized tests.

 

It's a concession I am willing to make to him in order to homeschool.

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I have found that the best way to handle in laws is for them to find out for themselves how wonderful he is doing and with humor. My favorites are Thank you notes. My son writes them for gifts and my inlaws rave about his writing and spelling. I don't want my kids to perform like trained monkeys but it also helps if the kids share a little bit of what they are learning. At thanksgiving they brought their pilgrim lapbooks and gave an oral presentation to the family. It gave them a chance for show and tell, and it allowed the family to see something concrete that they were learning. Or to have them recite one of their memorizations.

I have also learned to joke with them when they seem uptight. I have asked my inlaws if they want me to make them a bumper sticker that tells the world that their grandchild is an honor student. :tongue_smilie: So they don't feel left out. (I wouldn't really, but it put the point across that they might be focusing on the wrong thing) But it depends on your relationship. I know that my inlaws are worried about the kids and not taking backhanded swipes at me. If that were the case, I would put them on ignore, or as someone mentioned, explain that it was not their decision and if they had a problem, I don't want to hear about it.

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Our state doesn't require formal testing, but we are choosing to test this year, as ds would be completing 3rd grade if he were in public school. We have no plans to enroll this child into public school, but we believe that being able to show adequate academic progress, in addition to the portfolio we keep, would be beneficial to us should some snarky person (ie, my public school teacher of a MIL) turn us in to the Board of Education. We do not have plans to tell anyone IRL that we are doing testing.

 

If our ds does show gaps in his academic ability, we plan to specifically address those. Working through the spectrum test prep book has been helpful for us.

 

I agree with the others, have your dh weigh in with your MIL and put her back in her place. She needs to respect proper boundaries. Unless you are on the turn-sesame-street-on-and-call-it-school plan, she really has no business intervening.

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We don't have to test here, but I have tested my kids every year starting in 2nd grade. I do it because it helps reassure me that we are on track and I'm not seriously lacking in anything specific. I also believe that test taking skills are important to have later, when taking SAT, ACT, etc. Should you ever decide to send your child to school, it can be useful as well. When dd decided to go to high school, we didn't have to jump through all kinds of hoops because we had her 8th grade ITBS scores which alone qualified her for honors classes, otherwise she might have been in regular classes and we would have been grilled on the curriculum we had used.

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We don't have to test here, but I have tested my kids every year starting in 2nd grade. I do it because it helps reassure me that we are on track and I'm not seriously lacking in anything specific. I also believe that test taking skills are important to have later, when taking SAT, ACT, etc. Should you ever decide to send your child to school, it can be useful as well.

 

:iagree:These are reasons to consider testing. Reassuring your MIL isn't.

 

My DD tested in 2nd with the ITBS because DH made it a pre-condition for agreeing to continue HS (he re-evaluates that decision every year). She tested this year with the EXPLORE talent search because I wanted something with a higher ceiling and because it might qualify her for certain GATE programs.

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I am in Missouri and no testing is required. I don't test. I know that my kids are performing way above their peers in public school (they went to ps until 5th grade) , that they are making steady progress and that they are academically where *I* think they should be.

DD took the SAT in 7th grade - that result was enough to put my mind at ease for high school.

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We're testing for our own personal accountability. If you feel you don't need that, then don't test. It would rather irritate me to live in a state that required it, and it would irritate me more to have a MIL that insisted I do anything with my kids, much less test them. Although, if she was that insistent, I'd imagine she was paying for it, right? :D

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We don't have to test and I don't. However, when my kids get older, probably by middle school, I'll probably begin introducing standardized type tests to get them used to them. Also, if I think there's an issue with their learning in a serious way, such as if I ever suspect a learning disability, then I would get them tested without hesitation.

 

I understand why people test their kids in elementary school to get them accustomed to testing and to see where they stand, but I personally feel like it's not worth the expense or the time at this age.

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I live in a non-testing state, and did not test in 2nd grade. I did test when my kids were older, one because I wanted them to start to become familiar with bubble-tests, and two because I suspected they were struggling in some areas. Testing confirmed that and helped me decide a course of action. I don't see much point in testing kids before 3rd grade, or just for the sake of doing it. Can your dh talk to his mom on this?

 

Merry :-)

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We don't have to test here, but I have tested my kids every year starting in 2nd grade. I do it because it helps reassure me that we are on track and I'm not seriously lacking in anything specific. I also believe that test taking skills are important to have later, when taking SAT, ACT, etc. Should you ever decide to send your child to school, it can be useful as well. When dd decided to go to high school, we didn't have to jump through all kinds of hoops because we had her 8th grade ITBS scores which alone qualified her for honors classes, otherwise she might have been in regular classes and we would have been grilled on the curriculum we had used.

:iagree: My oldest is in third grade and he will do the ITBS this year. If he runs out crying or something then we'll skip it for a couple of years, but assuming he's fine with it (and I'm sure he will be) I'd like him to get experience with taking standardized tests since he'll likely have to take one eventually. That's my main reason, but if he comes back with horrible scores in some area I'll consider it a huge benefit to know that too.

 

I wouldn't test to my my MIL happy.

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I had my older kids tested starting at 12 and 13.

 

I did not want college entrance exams to be their first experience with a standardized test.

 

I don't share test scores with nosy family members. That will be your next biggest hurdle once and if you decide to test. :glare: Set a firm boundary now.

 

Best of luck!

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My dc will start testing in 8th grade and every year thereafter. I don't think there is much point in elementary grades unless you suspect a problem.

 

I agree with the others that MIL needs to mind her own business. I wouldn't say to her, "See there are other homeschoolers who don't test." I would say to her, "I appreciate your concern for our dc but I know what is best for them, I am their teacher, and I know exactly where they are academically. If we reach a point where I feel they need to be tested in order to evaluate their skills for my own purposes then that will be a decision that their father and I make."

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We do not have to test, and we will not test. In our state, while you testing is not mandated, if you voluntarily test and your child does not do well for whatever reason, they can force you to re-enroll your child in school. However, you can get a copy of the test and take and grade yourself, if you are just curious as to how your dc do.

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I had my older kids tested starting at 12 and 13.

 

I did not want college entrance exams to be their first experience with a standardized test.

 

I don't share test scores with nosy family members. That will be your next biggest hurdle once and if you decide to test. :glare: Set a firm boundary now.

 

Best of luck!

 

:iagree: It's easier to just tell your MIL "No" now else she'll want a copy of the results and you'll be hearing, "my friend's granddaughter got 4 points higher on X, maybe you should do more...."

 

I also agree with the PPs suggestions to sic DH on her. Keeping ILs in line is the spouse's job, and as I tell DH "you do it, or I will and not nearly so nicely" or "deal with her or I'll be mad at you (not her) for not maintaining our family boundaries." [MIL is a serious boundary trampler. We get along fine as long as dh does his job.] One easy way is for dh to (1) tell her to butt out, and (2) make a point to rave to her about what a great job you are doing hsing the kids and how he supports you 100%. :D

 

As to testing - part of why I pulled our kids out of a VA was the amount of time spent/wasted on standardized test prep (K and 2nd). Eventually we'll do some, but probably MS age or so; I'll probably get one of those certifications to admin at home; then PSAT or such for college entrance practice in HS.

 

IMO: Standardized testing is just a way to get a rough measure when you've got hundreds of kids staring at your with blank faces. When you HS, you know where you kids are at and you don't need to spend 10 years practicing for college entrance exams! If parents want an outside eval, that's fine as a sanity check, but it's not necessary. As another P said, ~"there are good reasons, but to satisfy your MIL is not one."

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We don't test ds. There's no point in causing him that much stress for results that will just depress me. We do plan to test dd this year, but I ruled out the Stanford when I found out that she'd have to go for 3.5 hours each day for 3 days. That's just too much for 2nd grade. I'm either going to give her the 3rd grade TAKS (old versions are free online and it's just graded as not passed/passed/commended) or the CAT/E from Seton. I'm leaning to the TAKS because free is good and we live in TX. The advantage for OP is that she could just tell MIL that ds passed or was commended without having to go into percentile scores.

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IMO: Standardized testing is just a way to get a rough measure when you've got hundreds of kids staring at your with blank faces. When you HS, you know where you kids are at

 

I always hear people saying that, but I don't think it's necessarily true. I had a general sense of how well my DD was doing, but the curricula I was using with her left gaps that only became clear when I got the ITBS results back. Different programs have different areas of emphasis and it's easy to overlook something not covered by whichever particular program you've chosen.

 

Now, I don't necessarily change what I'm doing because of the test scores, but it alerts me to the fact that there is a gap. I can then decide how important I feel the particular topic is, and whether it's worth doing something about the gap. :)

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I have been in all sorts of testing scenarios from testing even though we weren't required to through having to do big psycological assessments done to prove a point to education officials who didn't know what they were doing. (Sorry, sore topic.)

 

I stopped testing a couple years ago, because I had stopped learning new info from the tests and because the testing environment was actually teaching my kids bad habits (specifically to rush through the test).

 

I would also suggest that a major standardized test isn't that helpful until you get to the point where the kids are reading their own test. SAT 10 has the proctor read most of the questions until about third grade. I also found that the subtests used to assess reading ability were not helpful to assess a student who had learned using a phonic based approach and who was a good reader.

 

For example, my middle son had a test where he had to identify what word had the same vowel sound as the target word by picking the picture representing that word. He was reading Redwall novels at the time, but didn't know what a vowel was. So here he was with a 5th-7th grade reading ability getting tested as being below 2nd grade because he didn't know that the letter a was a vowel. Ugh.

 

On the other hand, I am planning on doing testing with all of my kids this year, because the older two definitely need the practice of doing well in the testing environment. They need to learn how to use their time and how to check their answers. The youngest will also test because he'll have to be there anyway. (I could do a parent administered test, but will choose group testing instead.)

 

Don't know if that helps or not.

 

I think that YOU and your DH need to decide if formal testing (as opposed to something like giving them a practice test from a test prep book or a released test based on state standards) meets your goals or not. Then inform your MIL of that choice. But extended family don't get a vote or a veto in how I raise my kids. They can make occasional observations, but once per topic.

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I test on occasion, but mostly offer portfolio evals to the state to meet req't. The times I have tested were for my benefit and I found regularly that my assessments as their daily teacher were always spot on. *I know* their strengths and weaknesses. I don't really need a tester to tell me so. So, in your case, and with a second grader...nope.never.tested any of the dc.

 

Now, having said that, I do plan on having them take formal tests starting end of 9th grade b/c I want them to get comfy for SATs, et. al as they must take those (unfortunately for college entrance).

 

I like to test end of 3rd, end of 5th end of 8th and then from 9th on up for the college stuff. I chose those years b/c I see them as "final" years and I want to make sure they're on par at each point (end of lower grammar, end of upper grammar, end of middle school).

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PLEASE don't show her this thread......lol! We need to keep the WTM board MIL free. :tongue_smilie:

:lol: :lol: :lol: I try to keep MOST things MIL-free...

 

I have found that the best way to handle in laws is for them to find out for themselves how wonderful he is doing and with humor. My favorites are Thank you notes. My son writes them for gifts and my inlaws rave about his writing and spelling. I don't want my kids to perform like trained monkeys but it also helps if the kids share a little bit of what they are learning. At thanksgiving they brought their pilgrim lapbooks and gave an oral presentation to the family. It gave them a chance for show and tell, and it allowed the family to see something concrete that they were learning. Or to have them recite one of their memorizations.

 

Oh, I do that. And my son is a bit of a show-off/know-it-all (Asperger's), so she is quite aware that he's intelligent and being challenged. I'm not sure why she thinks the testing is needed. And she listens to DH about as much as she listens to me. I pass the bean dip a lot.

 

We don't have to test here, but I have tested my kids every year starting in 2nd grade. I do it because it helps reassure me that we are on track and I'm not seriously lacking in anything specific. I also believe that test taking skills are important to have later, when taking SAT, ACT, etc. Should you ever decide to send your child to school, it can be useful as well. When dd decided to go to high school, we didn't have to jump through all kinds of hoops because we had her 8th grade ITBS scores which alone qualified her for honors classes, otherwise she might have been in regular classes and we would have been grilled on the curriculum we had used.

 

This is the main reason I would test. Historically, he has not tested well, and he would need the practice. I'm beginning to implement tests into his curriculum for this reason, and I would definitely consider standardized testing as well as he gets older, just not yet. Plus DS does sometimes contemplate going back to the private school he was at (and DD is still at), and if it ever came to that, I know he would have to be tested for placement and would be dealing with standardized tests there, too.

 

Finding gaps would be my other reason for testing, to work out what we need to work on, especially if we did decide it was time for him to head back to school.

 

I really appreciate all the input. Since he's only 8, I don't consider this to even be an issue yet, but I'm glad to get insight into what others are doing/have done. I have no problems telling my MIL that I don't plan to test, at least at this age, and HAVE. She and I are having issues now that her last two sons have moved out and she's got an empty nest. She thinks her grandchildren are now 'her' babies. We're having to redraw lots of boundaries. :glare:

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Alternatively, if you DO test without being mandated to do so, why? Honestly, I am curious. :bigear:

 

Haven't read the other responses, so this is just off the cuff.

 

I plan to test because my dd has a mild processing disorder, and when she was evaluated, they wanted to re-test her in three years to see how she was progressing. I want to see how she is progressing, too, to know if the way I am teaching her is helping with those issues or not!

 

Even if that were not the case, I would have her start regular testing in the middle school years to get her used to the whole idea and format and reality of standardized tests. She will be taking the PSAT and SAT (and possibly ACT) and a LOT will be riding on those scores. I do not want that to be her first experience with timed, standardized tests!!!

 

I do not think testing earlier than middle school is particularly necessary or even informative/beneficial. And prior to third grade? Certainly not!

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When we lived in Maryland, standardized testing was not required and we chose not to do it.

 

Here in New York, you have to either test or do some sort of narrative. Last year we chose to do the standardized testing. It wasn't painful, but both kids (the older two did it) said that it was dumb. They both got great scores on it, so I guess they were telling the truth about it being too easy.

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We don't have to test and I don't. However, when my kids get older, probably by middle school, I'll probably begin introducing standardized type tests to get them used to them. Also, if I think there's an issue with their learning in a serious way, such as if I ever suspect a learning disability, then I would get them tested without hesitation.

 

I understand why people test their kids in elementary school to get them accustomed to testing and to see where they stand, but I personally feel like it's not worth the expense or the time at this age.

 

:iagree:Exactly.

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I'll probably do something along the lines as what Tina does... 3rd, 5th, 8th, high school. My state doesn't require anything (beyond attendance records), but I do like to have an outside objective view on where my kids are at. Sometimes I might forget some little piece, and it'd be good to have that pointed out while there's still time to cover it. ;)

 

When my son was getting ready to go into K at a private school, the teacher did a little readiness assessment. My son had surpassed K level in reading and math already, so I wasn't at all worried about the assessment. Guess what i learned? He needed to learn how to use scissors, and he needed to learn his address/phone number. Those were things that I hadn't done and hadn't really even thought about teaching. So while I knew where my son was at academically, I didn't realize some of the holes that were present.

 

Am I worried about testing in 3rd grade? Nope. I'm sure my son will do fine. But if the test shows anything lacking that I think shouldn't be lacking, it'd be nice to know about it! I'm not perfect. I don't know everything. It is possible for me to miss something about my child's education, even though he's with me 24/7. I've missed something before. It's nice to have an outside evaluation, used as a TOOL, to help me make sure that I'm covering everything I want to cover.

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I don't have to test, but our coop offers cheap testing so we have dne it every year. HMM past 2nd grade.

 

I'd tell grandma we tested and he was doing great. Tht is all I have ever told my parents. You test every day because truthfully the test will only confirm what you already know. I have rarely been surprised by my boys test.

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DH wants it, so DD will be taking the Stanford 10 with other homeschooled kids her age. I figure a test once a year is a small price to pay for his confidence in homeschooling-and it's not a bad idea for DD to have experience with testing before she gets to one that really counts. I also figure it's not a bad idea to know what we've missed/skipped in the grade level curriculum, where terminology differs, and so on so I can make sure that IF those areas are important, I go back and cover them.

 

I also figure that, if something happens and she needs to go back into school, having a score report will make it easier for the school to feel comfortable with adding her to their class. There are enough people in my area who homeschool to get around truancy laws, or who feel that "any homeschooling is better than any public school" for teachers and schools to be wary about homeschoolers. I think having that once a year score report from a national test will do more to prove that we are, indeed, serious about homeschooling and that any gaps are due to curriculum choices and differences in scope and sequence as opposed to a lack of education than anything else I can do.

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I had my older kids tested starting at 12 and 13.

 

I did not want college entrance exams to be their first experience with a standardized test.

 

I don't share test scores with nosy family members. That will be your next biggest hurdle once and if you decide to test. :glare: Set a firm boundary now.

 

Best of luck!

 

:iagree:

 

I would never share test scores with extended family! I might say that they did well or something vauge, but I would not give them that power or allow my children to be put under undue stress due to family scrutiny. I know one mom who doesn't even tell her children their test scores. She has nothing to hide. They all score extremely well each year. Partially, she doesn't want to inflate their egos! :lol:

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Our state does not require testing.

 

We have our boys take the EXPLORE test through NUMATS beginning in third grade.

 

Reason 1: I like having an unbiased assessment of their abilities.

 

Reason 2: I like the EXPLORE because it doesn't have a grade level ceiling; it gives me a better idea of their abilities.

 

Reason 3: I love the feedback that NUMATS provides. I've tweaked different areas of our curricula based on their feedback.

 

Reason 4: I want the boys to be used to standardized testing. I don't want them to have an anxiety about it when it really counts for college.

 

I've shared test results with my parents and my in-laws, but would never share beyond that. My m-i-l was a private school teacher, and was not 100% sure of our homeschooling plans when we began seven years ago. (She ended up with quite a few homeschool dropouts who were way below grade level in her class.) Over the years, she's definitely changed her mind, at least about our homeschool! :D

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I am in a non testing state, have been in 3 of those LOL. My mother when she was still here, worried me to death about the same thing. So I found a friend who did test, and copied her scores. hehehe That got her off my case, I never technically lied, I never said I had them tested. It was enough to make her happy. ;-)

 

I have never test, will never test. There isn't much to be learned from how well a child fills in little bubbles. ;-) IMO !

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We live in a state that tests from 3rd grade up.

 

If we did not, I *might* test if I thought it would be beneficial in some way.

 

I would NOT test for my MIL's benefit. Sorry, but it's just none of her business. I understand though b/c my inlaws are alllll about "the test". They think "teaching to the test" is a good thing. Last year was my oldest's first year to be tested and all I told them was she did great. She did well, but I didn't even tell HER how she tested, let alone my inlaws.

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We are in a charter school that requires it. (I would love to be an independent, but hubby likes the charter so it is my concession to hs). Next month my son will take his first state mandated test (he is in the 2nd grade). I have mixed emotions on it. I like to think I know what his strengths are and what they are not. And I don't like him compared to thousands of other children in our state. But on the other hand, it does show me where we need to work on. And it gives him exposure to test taking (this is his first ever test! EVER!! YIKES!!). What I don't like about it is that we educate using a classical model (hello, this is the wtm forum) but this test doesn't take that into account. So we have had to spend the last couple months doing "test prep" which is time consuming and frustrating. I have to teach him concepts that his books haven't covered yet just so he will have an idea of what the test is talking about. I don't want to send him in there confused and frustrated. (Also, the charter requires us to prep because they don't want poor tests scores...again a reason to hate this test!) So basically, I don't know if I would test if I didn't have to. I do know that it wouldn't be in the 2nd grade. And I certainly wouldn't do it for a family member. That would be strictly between my husband and I!

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I don't have any intention of testing. By all accounts my kids are ahead of their peers. But even if they weren't, I would not test on my MIL's urging, because I would not want to give her the impression that she had any say or that her opinion mattered. If I did test, I would not tell her about it.

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We are not required to test and don't. I do plan on using the older TAKS (Texas state, even though we're in MO) test to help prepare him on how to take a test.

 

You know the old joke about how the husband said "I love you" on the wedding day and if anything changes I'll let you know? That's how I feel about testing. Ds had one in kindergarten (private school), it told me everything I already knew about where he was academically. Each year I assess where he is and if it changes I'll let him know.

 

okay, that doesn't make much sense, but it's clear in my head. *I'm sick in bed*

 

Anyway, we'll start doing some test prep at the end of this year to prepare him for PSAT and ACT, but I'm not too concerned about other testing. He doesn't need 9 years to prepare him on how to fill in a bubble and work in a timed setting.

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I might be tempted to test more if I could afford it. Last year I tested my 7th grader for the first time ever (Iowa Basic). I just wanted to see where there might be some struggles that I should shore up before highschool. He did well and nothing from the test caused me to change what we were doing. But I'll probably have my this year's 7th grader test as well. Just to make sure. It's my 5th grader I really worry about. But I'm going to wait at least another year before testing. I think at this stage testing might be discouraging and I can tell that he is improving by leaps and bounds all by myself even if he is not on grade level in everything. He is improving and working hard and that's all I can ask and expect.

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