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How is Your Homeschooled Child Progressing?

Updated: Jun 29, 2022


Are you curious about your homeschooled child’s academic progress? Then check out the NWEA test.

What is the NWEA test?


The NWEA test is a trusted adaptive assessment for K-12 students that precisely measures academic growth and proficiency in math, reading, language arts, and science. It gives a personalized testing experience that provides a ton of insight into your child’s academic achievement. The more questions your child answers correctly, the more difficult the questions get. As your child answers incorrectly, the questions become a bit easier. You can use the testing results to determine how your student is performing as compared to like-aged peers as well as to create a more specific academic program tailored to your child’s specific academic needs. My favorite part about the NWEA test is that it shows growth so there is no question about whether or not my kids are learning or growing - I can see the data when I review the testing results.


Arent grade levels arbitrary? Why does it matter?


There are some homeschooling camps and some leaders in the homeschool world that feel very strongly that grade levels are arbitrary and don’t really matter. And I guess they really don’t…until they do. It is true that the beauty of homeschooling is that you can individualize your child's learning experience and the idea of grade levels shouldn’t be used to hold our kids back from making great academic gains. If your child is ready for specific academic content, go for it! The problem comes when we have kids that are achieving well below their peers and parents are being convinced that grade levels and milestones don’t matter so there are no clear academic goals set. Here’s the deal, at the end of the traditional 12 or 13 years of education, most kids (except those with significant disabilities) will do one of three things…enter the workforce, enroll in a university or trade school, or enlist in the military. So at some point, our kids most definitely will need to be able to be competitive with their peers. An even bigger concern of mine is that statistically speaking if a child isn’t reading proficiently by the age of 9 or ten, he will struggle to read for the rest of his life without intense interventions. Assessing our student’s academic achievement provides insight into how our instruction is measuring up as well so we know when to pivot, seek extra guidance, or consult professionals for help.



How are my student’s RIT scores helpful to me?

Lots of homeschool mamas I talk to worry about whether or not they are doing “enough”. The NWEA test would be a great assessment to help you answer that very question! RIT scores can be used to compare their performance with other students their age. They are regularly normed so you know you are getting an accurate interpretation of the scores.


RIT scores can show growth over time as well. I especially like this feature for kids who struggle academically. They may struggle to score the same as their peers, but as long as they are showing growth, I’m happy! NWEA also provides an extensive list (DesCartes) of skills to enhance, develop, and introduce based on students’ RIT scores. It is so useful to use in informing your planning and instruction, especially if you often wonder if you are on the right track. You can find a copy of that list here.


How do I get my kids tested?


Homeschool Boss offers flexible testing options (we are not affiliated in any way). It’s very convenient because you take the test from your own home so there’s no need to travel or find a testing site. They’ve got great reviews, too!


(You can learn more about the NWEA test here).



 

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