A free online homeschool placement test is a handy tool for discerning exactly where your child fits along a curriculum itinerary. These tests can bring to light the subjects where your child excels and also the areas in his education that present a deficiency. For parents who are just beginning the homeschool adventure with their child, it is a wise step to start this journey with a placement test even if you don't plan on using a specific curriculum.
General Assessment Tests
If you are looking to test general skills, or get an idea of an overall grade level of your child in a specific subject, you'll want to try to find a general assessment. These assessments will often give you an idea of where your child is at in relation to his peers and may help you select grade levels of curriculum. They can also be used to give your child test taking practice, especially if testing is not a part of your homeschool.
Internet4classrooms boasts an invaluable stash of assessment exams, particularly for high school students.The tests are divided by grade level for first through eighth grade. High school level assessment tests include:
- Algebra I and II
- English I and II
- Physical Science
- U.S. History
- Social Studies
The site also features an online timer, so if you are preparing for a standardized test, you can make sure you are completing the test in the time that will be allowed. Each set of tests is different in nature. Some are multiple choice, while some require filling in a blank with the correct answer. Some of the tests are taken online and some need to be printed, completed and then graded by a parent with the answer key. The site even offers additional resources such tips and strategies for test taking.
MINDsprinting offers some very comprehensive assessment tests for all grade levels in the subjects of reading and math. These tests can be taken multiple times at no cost. MINDsprinting boasts four pages of assessment results for each test, which should give homeschooling parents a fairly decent idea of their child's reading and math prowess. Be aware that MINDsprinting is a private tutoring program, though you do not have to be enrolled as a student to make use of the assessment resources. Keep the following tips in mind as your child takes the test.
- Read through the instructions carefully before having your child start this online assessment. For example, they say to never click the back button on the browser as it may cause issues with the program.
- Do not allow your child to use a calculator.
- Make sure your child knows not to guess. The site explains that if your child guesses and gets the problem right, he still does not know the topic and the assessment will not show accurately what your student needs to learn.
The test starts with simple multiple choice options, such as arranging numbers in order from smallest to largest. As the test progresses, the problems get harder and harder, but are all multiple choice. At the end of the test, an assessment of what skills your child has and what needs work is provided.
Although the tests below are for specific products, they may give you a good idea of where your child is on the placement scale. Many of the product sites offer a comparison to other products or a grade level you can use to choose curriculum for your child, even if it's not that specific curriculum for which the test was designed. The products are also popular in homeschool circles, so you may want to use one of them if it matches your educational goals.
Math-U-See offers a math placement test for those interested in switching from a traditional math book like Saxon to the manipulatives-based Math-U-See program. The free placement tests are broken up into general math and secondary math. For the secondary students, the subjects line up with Algebra or Geometry. One thing that the site stresses is that students should be able to do math in their heads. If the student uses fingers to come up with an answer, then he is not ready for that level in Math-U-See. Parents who are not interested in Math-U-See can still use the test to assess basic math skills.
Alpha Omega offers placement tests in subjects such as reading, writing and math. One of the great things about Alpha Omega is that they offer testing options for specific curriculum choices, such as Switched on Schoolhouse, LIFEPAC, Horizons, or Monarch math. It's a one-stop shop for free placement tests and placing an order for curriculum for the school year based on those test results. If you're not interested in using the Alpha Omega curriculum, you will still get results that can help you determine an approximate grade level for your child.
Sonlight offers a quick reading assessment to help parents see where their children are in their reading abilities. The assessment is for students reading below a fourth or fifth grade level. The test corresponds to Sonlight's reading curriculum. However, since Sonlight uses 'trade books', your child can take the assessment, and you can get a good idea of the level of literature she should be reading by looking at Sonlight's corresponding list.
State Assessment Requirements
You will also want to carefully review your state's homeschooling requirements. Some states necessitate annual assessment testing in order to ensure that your child is keeping up academically. These tests are usually different from free online assessment tests and, instead, are of the standardized variety. Each state with laws regarding assessment testing may provide their own standardized tests or at least suggestions as to which tests are approved.