Homeschoolers in some states such as Minnesota are legally required to administer a standardized, norm-referenced achievement test every school year for their children of compulsory school age. Other homeschoolers choose to periodically administer standardized tests in order to gauge how their children are doing. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills is one option for standardized testing for these parents.
Commonly used in public schools, The Iowa Test of Basic Skills is also known as the ITBS or simply the Iowa Test.
The Iowa Test is similar to the CAT in that it is comprised of many different subjects that vary depending on the age of the child. Some of these include Vocabulary, Word Analysis, Reading, Listening, Language (includes Spelling), Word Concepts, Math Problems, Math Computation, Social Studies, Science and Sources of Information. Click here for more information about the different subjects tested at different levels.
Since the test is fairly long and intensive, it’s recommended that it be given over at least 2 or 3 days, with breaks between each section.
Parents can administer the Iowa Test at home but it requires that the administrator have a bachelor’s degree or be certified to teach in the state and file a fair amount of paperwork. BJU Press is one site where you can order the test online if you meet the criteria. Triangle Education also offers the test and offers discounts on multiple orders for group testing.
Cost runs somewhat higher than the CAT, depending on if you administer it yourself, generally about $30 to $40.
Some homeschool groups arrange for testing with the Iowa Test for their members. Check with your local groups to see if it’s an option in your area. Other homeschoolers sometimes choose to test through their local school districts when they give the test. Check with your district to find out if that’s an option in your area and for information about dates and cost.
Like the CAT, the Iowa Test results will be mailed to the parent several weeks after the test and materials are returned. Also like the CAT, the test results include information about the percentage of questions answered correctly and where the student falls as compared to national averages. To see an example result form, click here (PDF form).