Assessmet tests, percentiles and bragging

For children in the public school system, assessment tests are practically a weekly thing. The schedule for testing is incredible. No wonder ‘teaching for the test’ is such a common concept now. For homeschoolers, there is a requirement that children take one state assessment test every other year until high school, then every year until graduation.

Since this is my daughter’s second year of homeschooling, we were obligated to select one of our state’s approved tests and administer it. A friend of mine is a public school teacher, and she graciously agreed to proctor this test for Daughter.

It’s the typical, timed, No. 2 pencil test. Remember those?

Needless to say, Daughter was stressed. Anytime we have to be tested on what we know – or don’t know – stress levels rise. You can imagine mine rose, too. I felt as though it were not just Daughter being tested, but myself as well. I have, after all, been her teacher for the past two years.

In order to ‘pass’ these assessment tests, children have to score in the 33rd percentile. In case you’re unsure what that means, allow me to explain – it means in order to pass, a child must score higher on the test than 33% of the children who have taken it. It has nothing to do with their actual score. Yes. You read that correctly.

Well, I knew Daughter would pass but I wanted her to breeze by, not simply pass. After all the effort she – and I – put in this year (and last), I hoped for that. My hopes were answered yesterday when her score came back from the state. She not only surpassed the 33% expectation, she surpassed everything I could have dreamed. My homeschooled child scored in the 98th percentile.


When I took the time to average her overall scores and not just gaze dreamily at the percentile, I saw her average is a 96. Ninety-six.

How wonderful it was to realize all the work this child did throughout the year , all of my gentle persuasion  , my agressive mothering, my patience , and reserved encouragment paid off so well.

We celebrated last night. What an affirming end to our second homeschooling year.

3 Responses to Assessmet tests, percentiles and bragging

  • Birthday! Why did you just slide that one in? Happy birthday!
    Assessement tests. Our school chose to only test the first hour of school for 2 weeks rather than stressing the kids out with all day testing. The PTO brought in snacks so they would have the brain energy to do well. #1 son also routinely scores in the 90% bracket. The district and schools use the #’s to better place them in classes as well as the usual ‘how are we doing’. #1 son will be in honors classes going into middle school next year. Congrats on your daughter doing well on the test. I too take credit for my son’s scores even though I am not his full time teacher. A lot has to happen at home for him to do well, including teaching him to be responsible by turning in his assignments on time and keeping a close eye on his progress. Kids these days have it tougher than we did. They will have to have at least a bachelors degree if they hope to land a good job someday so that they won’t be living with us when they’re 35!

  • Thanks for the birthday wishes, Beth!!
    I like the way your school did the testing. And wow! How wonderful that your son routinely scores in the 90% bracket!!! Excellent! And you are soooo right. We all need to be involved with our kids – whether they’re public schooled or homeschooled. They need not just lessons in academics but in life. That’s our job. Unfortunately, not all families have the luxury of being there for their kids. I wish there was a way to make schools more like community centers… with free after-school programs for kids whose parents work two jobs or whatever. They could go there for support from other kids or from the parents of those kids. The last time I looked, the afterschool and homework help classes here were $150 per session (12 weeks, one day a week for two hours). That’s just too much $$ and not enough time. How do you fix something so broken, I wonder.

  • Hey Debbie– what a wonderful birthday present you got. Daughter scored in the 98th percentile. With all the time you spend together, I’ll bet Daughter knows many important things that are not one the standardized tests!

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