The state of North Carolina requires your homeschooled student to take standardized achievement tests just like any other student living in the state. We decided the California Achievement Test (CAT) would be a good start for us. Although this is our first full year of homeschooling, Doriyan took the CAT after being pulled out of the 7th grade. This means I have an accurate snapshot right before we started working together and one after our first full year together.
Test Costs: I ordered the test from Piedmont Education Services, and the test with study guide was $50.00. This included the study guide and all testing materials.
Test Measures: Unlike other North Carolina end-of-grade or course tests, the CAT measures a lot. For example, it measures the student’s reading vocabulary and comprehension. Aside from regular subjects, the CAT also measures things like study skills, spelling, etc… It also gives you an overall grade equivalent score. Good parents want their child at or above grade level, but good educators just want to know the child is progressing. As a former educator and current parent I want both. The difference is subtle, but worth mentioning.
Test Administration: I was able to administer the test to Doriyan in our regular home-school classroom. The test is timed. This is a major difference for Doriyan because he has always been on a 504 plan in public school. As a diabetic, this allowed him to take breaks to check his blood sugar as needed without being on any time schedule. I was worried that it would impact his scores, but he finished each early.
Results: The results are easy to read. They give you national stanine (NS), the grade equivalent (GE), and the national percentile (NP). Additionally, the results come back fast via email.
Check back regularly to see Doriyan’s growth.