Each State or locality has different laws when it comes to administering tests to home school students. These requirements dictate who can test the children, what kind of tests the children must take, and reporting of test scores. Your options for test administrator include standards for hiring test administrators for children. Certification may be required for the tester, or the tester may be the parent himself or herself. Based on these restrictions, local support groups have banded together for group testing, or parents may swap and test each other's children. If you are a parent testing your own child:
- The test should be purchased from and returned to a testing service for impartial grading.
- If your State allows you to administer the test to your child, you should exercise control when it comes to helping the child with the test. This restraint will give you the most accurate scores and allow you to see your child's strengths and weaknesses.
- Use the easy-to-follow instruction booklet.
- Set aside an entire week to take the test so they will be able to spread it out.
Each State also dictates the standards of the tests to be taken. For example, according to Bella home school page, "testing on an annual basis is voluntary but must be administered by a certified teacher and results must be turned in to the school district. In Georgia testing is required every three years but can be administered by a parent and you aren't required to show the results to a school official." Many tests are available through many test-writing companies and testing services. These tests include:
- The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), which is nationally recognized as an appropriate test in many States. To administer this test, the parent or test administrator must have a BA degree in any field. The test provider scores the tests.
- The Stanford Achievement Test, a nationally standardized test for grades K-12, is often used. A BA degree and additional qualifications are required to administer the test.
- Parents who are allowed to administer the tests to their own children often choose the California Achievement Test (CAT). This test is sent back to the provider for scoring.
In many States, the test scores are simply a tool to help the parent assess how much a child has learned. Other states require scores be reported to the proper authority which is usually a division of the local school district. Keep a copy of the test filed with the child's papers for the year. If tests are required to be sent out for grading, send it to the proper authorities. To find the rules regarding home school testing in your State, visit www.hslda.org.