Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teen Testing

Do you realize how much time we spend getting our teens ready for tests? I was thinking about this today as my thirteen-year-old mentioned I’m always talking about tests.

I don’t mean tests for their subjects. In fact, we don’t take a lot of tests in our subjects. Mastery is demonstrated rather than tested. (At least for now…)

However, I am always telling him that he’s going to need to know this, that and the other for the PSAT or the SAT or the ACT or a CLEP. Test, test, test…

One of the reasons I became very disillusioned with the public school system was testing. Teachers are pressured to prepare their students to take End of Grade, multiple guess tests. Teachers almost have to teach to the tests nowadays as their jobs and their salaries can be contingent on how their students score. I find this sad. It really takes the steam out of the love of teaching. I was tired of my children being taught to take a test rather than to master a subject and think critically.

Nonetheless… I find myself worrying about tests.

My oldest son is graduating in January from the local public high school. He recently took the SAT for the third time and today took a College Placement Test (CPT) so that he can take college classes in the spring prior to heading to the university in the fall. I’m glad he’s got his testing behind him. Now we get to focus on where and when and what classes he will take for the next several years of his life.

As a homeschool parent staring high school in the face, I’m worried. Will my son be evaluated on his transcript? Probably not since he was homeschooled. He’ll be evaluated based on his SAT or ACT or college level course performance exclusively? I know he can do it. In fact, I know he can do it very well. But, it begs the question, is a test a fair evaluation of a person’s academic ability?

Those of you who are homeschooling high school or have homeschooled kids into college – how did/will you handle college admission? Have you simply relied on their test scores to carry them? Did the university even look at their transcript? What’s the secret? What about scholarships? The clock, for me is ticking, and I want to know where to find the keys to the kingdom. Help!

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