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  #1  
Old 07-09-2010, 03:29 PM
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Question IOWA Basic Skills Test

Many families in my co-op use this test at the end of the year in place of the TEKS test. HS families in TX are not required to give their students standardized test but many do. So my question for those of you whose students are not required to take standardized test but you allow them to test. At what age do you begin incoporating the test? Have any of you used this test and can you tell me about it. I looked online but was not able to find out much other than what types of things are on the test. Will this test results let me know what grade level my child is performing on? Do you get to see the test to see what types of questions are on the test etc? If not this test can you recommend a test for me perhaps not a standardized test but a through exam that covers a typical course of study for the grades. My hubby wants to make sure they are learning what they should be and while he is happy with what I am doing thus far, he wants a [U]test[U] so he can see it. I know old habbits die hard.
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2010, 03:53 PM
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We do not have to test at all here, however I will have them take a standardized test next year for 3rd grade. That will be the first test they take, I'm nost sure which one I will be using yet. After we get the results of that test we'll decide if and when they will take another.
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  #3  
Old 07-09-2010, 03:59 PM
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Hi, tuzor! Yes, I've used the Iowa before. You can get this test from Bob Jones University Press (or other places), for a fee, you administer it (if you meet the test-company's requirements before ordering), and send it in, and it gets scored and the results returned to you in maybe a month or so. I've also used the CAT/5, and currently use the Stanford. If you don't meet the qualifications yourself for administering the test, you can pretty easily find someone else to test for you. Since you/re in a co-op, I'm going to assume that the co-op handles all the testing for you? In this case, you probably will NOT get to "preview" the test.

I generally give an end-year test for each of my students, K on up. It's totally not necessary to test that young - most people wait until at least third grade, and some only test in specific years (like 4th, 8th, and once or twice in high school) - but I promised the parents of my students that I would test at the end just to see how they did.

Most tests will give you a grade-equivalent score for each subtest, each major subject of the test, and for the test as a whole. For instance, you might get a reading vocabulary score, a reading comprehension score, and a total reading score, a math calculations/computations score, a math problem-solving/word problems score, and a total math score, and a grammar/usage score, a mechanics score, a spelling score (some have spelling separate not included in language), and a total language score, a science score, a social studies score, and maybe even more than that, like thinking skills, listening skills or however the test is put together. You'll get a score for the Basic or Core subjects, which is reading, math, and language together, and a Composite or Battery score which includes all the subjects together.

The grade-level or grade-equivalent score does NOT mean that the student is capable of doing that particular grade-level of work (if they scored above) or ONLY that grade-level of work (if they scored below). It means that the student got the same number right as the average student of that grade-level would have IF they had taken the same test. So it means that (let's say) this fourth-grade-and-eight-months student got the same number of items correct that the average student in (let's say) the fifth-grade-and-three-months student would have gotten on the same test. Keep in mind that this hypothetical comparison student was in the fifth grade at PS, so it's not uncommon for homeschoolers to get really good-looking grade-level scores!

The score that probably means the most is the percentile score. This one means that if your student and 99 others the same age/grade took this test, your student would have scored the same as or better than "this many" of them. This is the score that will show real progress if compared from year to year. So if your student scores at the 50th percentile, they're "dead average" when compared to public schoolers of the same age/grade. If next year, your student scores at the 65th percentile, that's REAL progress. And if by the time they graduate, they've scored at the 85th or higher percentile, that's tremendous progress - which is not that unusual for homeschoolers! (However, scores from the 25th through the 75th percentile would fall within the "average range".)

Hope this helps!
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  #4  
Old 07-09-2010, 05:25 PM
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Lindia gets an A for explaining the Iowa so well!

We started the Iowa's in 3rd grade and there after. If you are curious what the actual test scores look like, I can scan one into my computer and post it for you. I know, the fear of the unknown.

As far as seeing the test before it is administered, that is not allowed unless you are the administrator.

Let me know if you want to see an actual test result and I will post it for you.


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  #5  
Old 07-09-2010, 08:11 PM
gizzy gizzy is offline
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Can you please post it? I know I'm not in TX, but I'm curious about these mythical standardized tests....

I took one myself in 9th grade and it was INSANE (the math was for sure) They asked us to solve an equation and find out how many dots were on a basketballs surface. That was just one of the questions...) The stress of the test made my stomach hurt so bad, as in Florida the FCAT can spell DOOM for some students and I wasn't confident about my math.

My scores were all above minimal passing and my language score was really good. I dont remember what though.

However, ever since I have been curious about what they put on little kid tests....
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  #6  
Old 07-09-2010, 08:37 PM
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MamaBear MamaBear is offline
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This is what the test results look like. This was for my youngest son in 3rd grade. The test was administered by a third party so nobody could say we cheated. His composite score which is the average of all the scores is the 99th percentile.

Your child will do fine! Hope this helps to see an actual test score.

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love truly, and forgive quickly!
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  #7  
Old 07-09-2010, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindina View Post
Hi, tuzor! Yes, I've used the Iowa before. You can get this test from Bob Jones University Press (or other places), for a fee, you administer it (if you meet the test-company's requirements before ordering), and send it in, and it gets scored and the results returned to you in maybe a month or so. I've also used the CAT/5, and currently use the Stanford. If you don't meet the qualifications yourself for administering the test, you can pretty easily find someone else to test for you. Since you/re in a co-op, I'm going to assume that the co-op handles all the testing for you? In this case, you probably will NOT get to "preview" the test.

I generally give an end-year test for each of my students, K on up. It's totally not necessary to test that young - most people wait until at least third grade, and some only test in specific years (like 4th, 8th, and once or twice in high school) - but I promised the parents of my students that I would test at the end just to see how they did.

Most tests will give you a grade-equivalent score for each subtest, each major subject of the test, and for the test as a whole. For instance, you might get a reading vocabulary score, a reading comprehension score, and a total reading score, a math calculations/computations score, a math problem-solving/word problems score, and a total math score, and a grammar/usage score, a mechanics score, a spelling score (some have spelling separate not included in language), and a total language score, a science score, a social studies score, and maybe even more than that, like thinking skills, listening skills or however the test is put together. You'll get a score for the Basic or Core subjects, which is reading, math, and language together, and a Composite or Battery score which includes all the subjects together.

The grade-level or grade-equivalent score does NOT mean that the student is capable of doing that particular grade-level of work (if they scored above) or ONLY that grade-level of work (if they scored below). It means that the student got the same number right as the average student of that grade-level would have IF they had taken the same test. So it means that (let's say) this fourth-grade-and-eight-months student got the same number of items correct that the average student in (let's say) the fifth-grade-and-three-months student would have gotten on the same test. Keep in mind that this hypothetical comparison student was in the fifth grade at PS, so it's not uncommon for homeschoolers to get really good-looking grade-level scores!

The score that probably means the most is the percentile score. This one means that if your student and 99 others the same age/grade took this test, your student would have scored the same as or better than "this many" of them. This is the score that will show real progress if compared from year to year. So if your student scores at the 50th percentile, they're "dead average" when compared to public schoolers of the same age/grade. If next year, your student scores at the 65th percentile, that's REAL progress. And if by the time they graduate, they've scored at the 85th or higher percentile, that's tremendous progress - which is not that unusual for homeschoolers! (However, scores from the 25th through the 75th percentile would fall within the "average range".)

Hope this helps!
Helps a lot thanks. I see that you are now using Stanford what was the reason for your switch.
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Last edited by tuzor; 07-10-2010 at 12:12 AM.
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2010, 12:09 AM
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tuzor tuzor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaBear View Post
This is what the test results look like. This was for my youngest son in 3rd grade. The test was administered by a third party so nobody could say we cheated. His composite score which is the average of all the scores is the 99th percentile.

Your child will do fine! Hope this helps to see an actual test score.

Thanks for posting.
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  #9  
Old 07-10-2010, 12:09 AM
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Lindina Lindina is offline
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Gizzy, the state tests are devised by the states to test their own state students against their own state standards, so they can decide who passes and who fails. In LA it's the LEAP. In TX, the TEKS. In FL, the FCAT, and so on. They started that mess back when NCLB was getting cranked up. You can't really compare the results of these tests against anything but the results of these specific tests within their own state.

However, nationally normed tests have been around for decades and decades - I took a few when I was in school, and grade school was a looooooong time ago. Nationally normed tests do not reflect the standards of any one particular state but are normed using groups of students from all over the nation - a representative sample. The Iowa, CAT, TerraNova (the newest version of CAT), Metropolitan, Stanford, and bunches of others are useful for getting a sort of snapshot of how a particular student or a particular class or school is stacking up compared to similar students across the whole nation. They are intended to test a wide range of knowledge and school skills, with some questions planned so that almost everybody can get some right and almost nobody can get all of them right within the time limits set.
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