Sunday, June 26, 2011

Testing, testing...

No, this is not a test! The tests have actually all been completed this year! ;)

The state of Georgia mandates that we administer a standardized test at the end of 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th grades. That means that Riley and Reece were due for some testing. Austin had comprehensive testing done back in the winter, which wasn't required by law, but I did to give me a fresh look at his current abilities before we begin high school. I blogged about his results here.

Reece was tested privately by the same lady who tested Austin in the winter, however, we only did the achievement tests (Woodcock-Johnson) and not the comprehensive testing. I will be able to blog about her results when I receive them in a few days, but the testing experience itself went much better than I had anticipated. Reece didn't have a single meltdown while we were there. She worked very, very hard! From just what I was able to observe, her results will be a pleasant surprise.

Riley's ITBS results came in the mail on Friday. She had tested with a group for the first time this year, mostly due to the struggles we've been having recently. I did not feel like I had to patience to administer the test with her one-on-one, and I felt like she could use a group testing experience. I was anticipating a slight dip in her test scores, just because the last year or two (mostly the last year) she has been very difficult to teach. She argues, cries, refuses to do her work - her energy has been spent trying to get out of doing work, rather than buckling down and learning. I have alluded to our struggles, but have only really scratched the surface. The onset of puberty has not been pleasant at the Black Pearl Academy, to say the least.

So her scores came in, and while they are still quite high and in the "above average" range (for all but math... more on that in a bit), they are still below what I know she is capable of. I've been assured that this could be related to puberty, or the fact that it was the first time testing in a group and she was being VERY social, or other factors, but it still frustrates me. I know she's capable of so much. I wish she would apply herself and focus. She is so smart.

Math is one area that is going to have to be fixed, however. Her scores in math went way down. Down to right in the middle of the average range. I'm simply not comfortable with that, especially with Algebra right around the corner. I think I'm going to need to switch to different math curriculum. She didn't used to need lots of practice and review, but apparently that has changed. I want to make sure she is completely confident with arithmetic, even if that means that we end up pushing Algebra back to 9th grade. :(

I have been battling with negative thoughts all weekend. I am blaming myself. I used to joke that I had Riley's excellent test scores to remind me that I wasn't a complete failure as a homeschooler. Well, guess what? Yeah.

I wish I could go back to the days when homeschooling was just fun and there wasn't so much pressure.


The Glasers said...

When you have time, I would love to know your thoughts on why Singapore wasn't a good fit for Riley last year.

Test scores cannot measure the truly important things of life. Do they measure how beautifully she dances? Her love for her siblings? Her voice? The size of her soul? Her relationship with God?

Niffercoo said...

Tammy, I'm not exactly sure if it was a bad fit, or if the problem was related to her attitude over the last year. She spent every day arguing and complaining over having to do a single Exercise in the workbook which rarely had over 10 problems. To me, 10 problems is not an excessive amount to expect from a child of her age and abilities. I don't know if she now needs more practice/review than Singapore offers, or if this is just a function of her disorganized brain this past year.

And I don't disagree with you about the test scores not measuring truly important things. But I believe that such a significant drop indicates that something is amiss, and should not be disregarded. And, unfortunately, the way things are in GA for unaccredited homeschoolers, test scores are very important to the colleges. More important than they should be. :(

The Glasers said...

Jennifer, I just read an essay today that blew me away!!!! Wouldn't it be great if there were a curriculum like this?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that she wasn't trying to do her best on the test? If she doesn't like doing math, maybe she answered the easy questions and guessed on the ones where she needed to think a bit.


Niffercoo said...

Kai, I know that her math computation scores are a reflection of her dislike of math. She doesn't work quickly at all, and especially with something like math. When we discussed her math scores, she said she tried her hardest. But that could mean something different to her than it means to you and me. LOL