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May 29, 2013

Resources For Assessment

Faith Berens

Spring is a busy time of year—from spring cleaning, planting and gardening, to yard sales and more, there is an abundance of things on our to-do lists. Spring is also typically the time of year that many homeschool parent-teachers buy curricula and materials for the coming school year. Keep in mind this can be an ideal time of year to assess your children. By taking inventory of which skills children have mastered and which skills need to be strengthened or addressed, your planning for instruction in the summer or the coming school year will become clearer and strategic.

Today, I would like to share some assessment tools that I hope you find helpful for your home school:

  • Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services offers The Diagnostic Prescriptive Assessment by Jill J. Dixon, B.S.Ed., M.Ed. is a criterion-referenced diagnostic test available in six separate assessments for grades kindergarten through five. Parents can administer and score this test. There is no need for outside scoring by a professional or paraprofessional, as each test is supplied with lucid instructions and a grade key. Accordingly, unlike other tests, there are no waiting periods for the results. A significant benefit to the parent giving and scoring the test is that the parent is thereby involved in the actual analysis of the student’s strengths and weaknesses.

Each test is a 4-in-1 tool: (1) a diagnostic test (2) an effective pre-assessment for grade placement  (3) a scope & sequence of objectives for each grade level (4) a yearly evaluation, portfolio, and Individual Educational Plan.

Since this assessment is a diagnostic assessment, it does not compare students to "normed" students within the same national, public school peer-group as standardized tests do, but instead, each student is thoroughly evaluated for mastery of his/her grade level skills in all required subjects. The assessment possesses high criteria of mastery with superior educational qualifications. It contains broad test items providing for the proper assessment of the student’s true ability. Each test has from 23 to 32 Subtests, depending on the grade level.

  • Let's Go Learn! offers on-line placement tests for reading and math.
  • Brigance Assessment Kits, are available for HSLDA members to rent; there are three kits including the Inventory of Early Development, for birth to developmental age 7, the Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills for pre-K through grade 9, and the Transition Skills Inventory which is geared toward middle and high school age students to assess not only academic skills but also independent living, employment, and additional post-secondary skills. Click here for more information.
  • HSLDA Struggling Learner website has check-lists and easy to use at home assessments such as sight word lists, a Quick Word Reading Inventory, rubrics, and fluency norms.
  • If you have a student who may have reading difficulties, the Eckenwilers, both of whom are reading specialists (and homeschool parents), have affordable assessment and remediation activities available at their website.
  • There is a great article at A-Z Home's Cool Homeschooling on various reading assessments; be sure to check it out here.
  • Have a high school student who may need assistance determining career exploration? You may be interested in the Career Decision Making Survey which surveys abilities, job values, school subject preferences, and interests. Level 1 is for middle school students and Level 2 is for high school and college/adult learners. This product is available at AVCS Books
  • If you have a child with developmental disabilities or who is on the Autism Spectrum, you may be interested in the Individualized Assessment and Treatment for Autistic and Developmentally Disordered Children, also available from AVCS Books.

-Faith Berens

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