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Testing - where to start?

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I have never had my two just-turned-eleven, 5th grade sons do standardized testing but would like to start. I would really rather start with a test that I can administer at home so I can teach them what they need to know about taking these kinds of tests.  What are my options and what would you recommend?

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Take a look at the Hewitt Pass test. You can administer it at home, it's untimed, and it's nationally normed. They only test Reading, Language Arts, and Math--so it's not an overwhelming or extremely long test to take (and you can even do the subjects over separate days if you want), but a great introduction to learning to fill out bubble tests.

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Since you wanted to know your options, I'm going to also mention the CAT/TerraNova, which you can administer at home through e.g. Seton. It is timed (though in my experience (grades 1 & 3) gives ample time), and optionally does include science, social studies, etc. There exist test prep books for the CAT/TerraNova if you were so inclined (completely optional, of course). If you have a bachelor's degree, you could also administer the IOWA/ITBS, also timed, iirc, I think also offered by Seton and others (not sure, I don't have a BS so I haven't had much of an incentive to look into it more).


At some point you're probably going to want to do some sort of timed standardized test, as the SAT will be timed (I think the ACT is timed as well). One advantage of doing a timed test early on is that if you find out that your kid is a slow test taker, you have time to figure out why, to remediate that issue and/or get a 504 in place for testing accommodations (the College Board will usually not give testing accommodations unless the kid has a history of having and using them).

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