Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thinking About CAT Testing

It’s February, so it’s almost time for spring standardized achievement testing.  We always administer the California Achievement Test (CAT5) at home in late April.  In fact, I usually would have pre-ordered our tests by now, but I’m thinking of trying a different format this year.

My youngest is currently being evaluated by his pediatrician for ADHD, as his hyperactivity and distractibility have sharply increased over the last couple of years.  It’s making our school work take forever, and it really made standardized testing a very stressful experience last year. 

He talks basically non-stop, and he talked, sang, fidgeted, and got up and down during testing last year over and over again.  It makes it difficult to finish the test within the allotted time for each section.

Family Learning Organization

So this spring, I may switch from the paper CAT5 I usually get from Family Learning Organization and try out the same test in an online, untimed format from Academic Excellence.  The website says the untimed version is for students needing testing accommodations.  We definitely need that! 

Academic Excellence

I read through the VA Homeschool Statute regarding special needs requirements for testing accommodations, and I contacted the Home Education Association of Virginia (HEAV) to see how their testing specialist interpreted the statute.  She seems to think I can go head and use the untimed online CAT5 without an IEP, ISP, or any other documentation regarding the need for testing accommodations.  Apparently, documentation requirements are determined by the test provider, so I probably just need to contact Academic Excellence and verify what they require before ordering.

Home Educators Association of Virginia

I know a lot of people who have used the test just to reduce test anxiety in their kids, but I wanted to be sure I was complying with the statute before I proceeded.

Anyway, it looks like it should work out for us just fine.  There are additional perks, as well.  Once I purchase the test, it doesn’t expire, so I could buy it now and use it in April.  Because it’s untimed, I can break it up over however many days and blocks of time as I see fit, and once we’re done with it, it is graded instantaneously, and I can download the results myself.  It’s also much less expensive than the paper test I usually order, and I won’t have any postage expenses to return it.  And what’s more, it happens to be on sale right now…there’s a coupon code on their website that saves an additional $5 per test, making it only $20 each!

So I think I’m about ready to go ahead and order it.  I knew I needed to do something different this year.  This child is making me crazy with his lack of concentration!

Wish us luck!