Monday, July 27, 2015
Testing can be a stressful event each year, especially if you have children with learning disabilities or special needs or delays. I wanted to be sure everyone is aware of the WA state testing option called an Assessment, (as opposed to a standardized test). By the way, this option is not only for those students with special needs. I have known many families who prefer to satisfy state testing requirements using this option with all of their children, regardless of learning styles or challenges. Also, FLO provides standardized testing as well. So if you or your children prefer not to test in a group setting, it’s good to know there are other options.
Here are a few links to their site:
https://www.familylearning.org/tests_assessments.php - assessments
https://www.familylearning.org/testing.html general testing info.
467-2552 - You may also contact them directly with questions and for more information.
Below is an article from a homeschool mom, who has used FLO’s testing services and has much insight. I appreciate her sharing her experience with us, as I know it will be helpful as you make decisions for testing your children this year.
Each year about this time many homeschoolers participate in annual review
of their children. In most situations a standardized test is used to
measure the individual child. Most parents are familiar with the process
and comfortable in evaluating the results for their own children. There are
various reasons that a standardized test is not the best evaluation tool and
Washington State home based education laws allow for a testing alternative.
Parents can opt for an educational assessment by a certified teacher.
When the time came for compliance with our developmentally disabled child,
I was initially hesitant to participate because a teacher would be looking
over my shoulder. Like many I realized that I was being evaluated, not my
child, and I was fearful, even though I had homeschooled for years. I am
however a big proponent of our family friendly law and it was my desire to
comply that propelled the process.
While I cannot speak for all organizations, I can give a full
recommendation for Family Learning Organization. I first met FLO in 1996 at
an informational seminar on homeschooling at the local library. Over the
years I have utilized the testing service and have received great
encouragement with any question I had. Although I was leery of assessments,
my good experiences gave me confidence to work with them.
There are two types of assessments that are offered: a checklist style
(great for those with fairly standard grade skills) and a freestyle
assessment with general areas. Both come complete with materials
(worksheets to fill in) and instructions with suggestions. Each was
developed primarily for Washington State, so the eleven required subjects
are listed in an easy to use form.
We have used the freestyle form which has space after each subject heading
for the parent to write a brief description of the child's progress in each
subject over the past year. The form does not ask for anything more than is
required by state law. The form could be filled out in about a half an
hour. The results were returned very quickly.
The best part is that this is a homeschool supportive assessment. There is
no sense of judgment or measurement of failure, it is not overly intrusive.
The verification form that is returned has a place for comments and teacher
confirmation. Although it reads a little clinical, FLO has worked to
produce a law abiding way to help fulfill state requirements without
interfering with the rights of parents. In the years that I have used the
assessment service, only one corrective comment was made—to my spelling
I encourage every homeschooling family to comply with our friendly
supportive law, including the yearly evaluations. I am happy to recommend
FLO for either testing or assessments.