Saturday, May 21, 2011

Narrative or Standardized Test?


A question I receive often is "Should I give my home educated student a standardized test at the end of the year, or complete a narrative portfolio assessment to fulfill the end of the year requirement for homeschooling in Ohio?" I usually reply it depends on what kind of information you hope to gain. One way to look at this question is to think "Do you want one picture of one moment in time, or a running movie with many pictures taken over time? "

A standardized test is a "snapshot "of a student at one moment in time. A standardized test is scored in a consistent manner so you are able to compare your student to a group of students in the same grade who have taken the same test. You usually receive a percentile ranking which tells you what percentage of the students taking the test your student scored better than. For instance, if your student was in the 33rd percentile in math then your child scored better than 33 percent of students in the sample group from the publisher who took this test in math.

A standardized test is limited in that it is more likely to tell you what your student does not know versus what they do know or have learned this year. A standardized test also dictates what the publisher feels is important for your student to know. It does not take into account what your student has learned this past year.

A narrative portfolio assessment is a group of work samples that reflect your student's growth and progress over the last year. It consists of many "snapshots" that come together to reflect what your student has accomplished this year. You, as parent educator, get to showcase what your student has accomplished this year

Besides celebrating what your student has accomplished, a portfolio also helps you to plan instruction for the next year. For instance, you realize you concentrated on learning your math facts, but did not spend as much time learning how to solve word problems. Next year, you commit to working on more problem solving. You look at your book list and notice that your student has mainly read adventure stories this past year. You commit to introducing him/her to biographies, non-fiction, and /or some poetry next year to vary his/her reading diet. I believe this is time well spent. You are assessing your student's needs and planning instruction based on those needs.

A narrative portfolio assessment also gives you a chance to present what your child has accomplished to a certified Ohio teacher. My hope is that when I review your student's work I bring a different "set of eyes" to your student's portfolio. As an assessor, I try to provide encouragement to parents, insight into your student's growth, and provide feedback to help you plan future instruction for your child. My goal is to partner with you to celebrate your student's accomplishments and encourage you on your home education journey.


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

leaving a comment... from ananomyous. what a beatuiful blog you have.. a beautiful blog by a beautiful person..

Anonymous said...

wow..that was easy...