Test Results Interpretation
How to Interpret Your Test Results
Test scores can sometimes be confusing to understand and misconceptions can happen. Do not define your child according to the scores they receive. Also, do not define yourself as their educator. There are many other factors to consider in their knowledge, understanding and wisdom than this one test. Here are some things to consider:
- As homeschoolers, we usually do not spend our time “teaching to a test,” or give much time to practicing how to take a standardized test.
- For most homeschoolers the testing experience is out of the norm. They don’t spend much time taking two-day-long tests outside of their homes. That’s one benefit of taking achievement tests yearly: it provides practice at these types of tests.
- Each student was given his or her own unique God-given abilities. For one student, being in the 40th percentile is an accomplishment, while being in the 90th percentile for another is not as high as he or she could have scored. Do not compare them to their friends or even siblings. Don’t look at the results as things they did poorly in, but as areas that need to be worked on. If they scored in the 30th percentile in Spelling that means that Spelling should be an area that you pursue more avidly next year.
- Curriculum choices and grade placement should never be based solely on test results. These decisions should be based on your student’s ability. It can be detrimental to your student’s progress to change curriculum each year based on test scores.
- Grade equivalent is not the same as grade placement. If an eighth grade student scores “PHS” that does NOT mean that he or she is ready to graduate high school and go off to college. It just means that he or she thoroughly mastered the eighth grade material that was covered on the test.
- Norm-referenced scores indicate how raw scores compare with the raw scores of students in a broader group. Norm-referenced scores enable us to compare a student’s performance with the performance of the norming group. We can be as broad or as specific as we need to be. National norms represent the pattern of performance of all the nation’s schoolchildren. But it is important to keep in mind that children are constantly expanding their knowledge; therefore, your child’s performance will most likely change from year to year.
Lexile and Quantile Scores
A Lexile measure refers to a score provided about a person’s reading ability. It helps parents decide the appropriate level of difficulty for a book and or article, and it helps determine how well the student will be able to understand the text.
For more information about the results from specific tests, please click the links below:
Moving Forward from Testing
Please remember that the test results don’t give us the whole picture. You are the teacher and work with your student on a daily basis, so please add your own observations to the results. Below are suggestions on how to improve skills in weaker areas, and reinforce skills in areas where the student is already strong.
Reading Comprehension. Some curricula just ask students to recall specific information, not asking questions that cause students to interpret or use their reasoning skills.
Spelling. Check to be sure your curriculum teaches how to spell phonetically and how to memorize word lists. The curriculum should also provide work for the student to use those words throughout the week.
Math Computation. Check to make sure your student has a grasp of the basic facts like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For older students, make sure they understand the order of operations, and make sure they are not careless in their work because it is very easy to skip a step or mistake a number if their writing is sloppy.
Math Problem-Solving. Check to make sure your curriculum provides ample practice in solving word problems.
Maps and Diagrams. Make sure you are teaching your student to understand maps and graphs. Sometimes they just don’t know how to interpret the material presented. Ask questions that aren’t obvious. Make them think.
Science. Remember that the science you are studying doesn’t always line up the science that is on the test. You just may be on a different track.
Social Science. Similar to science, you may not be studying the same material that is on the test. You might be studying Ancient History, and the test is asking about American History.
One of the most important things to ask about all the subject areas is “Is this area important to my student?” If math isn’t important to your student, chances are he or she isn’t going to apply himself or herself in that area, and his or her scores will reflect that.