We've lost touch with the idea of testing as "assessment" of student understanding (rather than simply progress) and the evaluation of teaching effectiveness.
In the homeschool community, that problem may be compounded when families opt out of traditional schools because of frustration over standardized testing. They just don't want to deal with testing at all.
Yet, done right, testing can be invaluable in the learning enterprise.
Yes, friends, testing has its place in homeschool settings! You just have to figure out which type to employ, when, and why.
In my latest homeschool workshop, a teacher-turned-homeschooler reminded me of the two types of assessment, formative and summative.
I share here the definitions with you, courtesy of the Association of Middle Education:
Summative Assessments are given periodically to determine at a particular point in time what students know and do not know...
Summative assessments happen too far down the learning path to provide information at the classroom level and to make instructional adjustments and interventions during the learning process. It takes formative assessment to accomplish this.Examples of summative assessments include end-of-chapter tests, end-of-unit tests, and standardized exams.
Formative Assessment is part of the instructional process. When incorporated into classroom practice, it provides the information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening. In this sense, formative assessment informs both teachers and students about student understanding at a point when timely adjustments can be made. These adjustments help to ensure students achieve, targeted standards-based learning goals within a set time frame. Although formative assessment strategies appear in a variety of formats, there are some distinct ways to distinguish them from summative assessments.Examples of formative assessments include things like pop quizzes but also include observation, dialogues with the child to determine progress, and even portfolios.
Formative is especially well-suited to homeschooling because we have a uniquely close relationship with our pupils.
Remember: sooner or later, be it for college or grad school admission, to pass the bar, get a driver's license or to qualify for a government post, our kids will encounter tests.
We'd be remiss as home educators not to prepare them for that inevitability.
So I wonder... how do you use testing in your homeschool setting?
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