Goals set? Check.

Curriculum purchased? Check.

Lesson plans written and extracurricular activities scheduled . . . check, check!

Now there’s just one last thing to organize for your homeschooled student, whether we’re at the beginning of the academic year or (whoops!) it’s spring already: your child’s end-of-year assessment.

Evaluating students at the end of each school year is one way to measure academic progress and the effectiveness of the education they’re receiving. Should you do end-of-year evaluations in your homeschool? How do you go about it?

As with so many homeschooling decisions, it’s very important to start by checking the homeschool law in your state. The law may require homeschooling families to test or otherwise evaluate their kids—and might even require that particular tests be used.

Here are the three types of assessments your state law might require:

  • Standardized testing—These are the familiar fill-in-the-bubble tests developed by commercial test publishers, who carefully regulate the development and administration of their tests to assure objectivity and reliability.
  • Portfolios—A portfolio is simply a curated collection of your child’s schoolwork from the year, reflecting his or her learning and progress.
  • Evaluation—In an evaluation, your child’s progress is assessed by an education professional, such as a certified teacher. Typically, the evaluator reviews a portfolio of your child’s work. (See previous bullet!)

In the rest of this series, we’re going to talk about why you might choose each option and how to go about making it happen in your homeschool. But if you’ve checked your state law and know that it requires a particular type of assessment, just click testing, portfolios, or evaluation to head straight for the information you need!