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eNews Archive & Articles | BJU Press Testing and Evaluation

Testing Solutions is a monthly enewsletter from the BJU Press Testing & Evaluation service that offers resources for the Stanford or Iowa Tests, as well as testing tips and reminders.

Archive

A Homeschool Mom's Story of Applying Test Scores
(July 2014)

Keeping Score: Do You Know Your Results? (May 2014)

Testing in This Economy: Making Sense with Your Cents (March 2014)

Preparing Your Child (February 2014)

Spring Testing (January 2014)

An End-of-Year Thanks to You! (November/December 2013)

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Testing Articles

Magentic Numbers

Does Your School Day "Add Up"?

In mathematics, we know that when we add two or more numbers together, they will yield a certain sum. What sum we arrive at depends entirely upon the individual addends used.

In the same way, summative testing is a gauge of the "sum" of knowledge and reasoning ability a student has developed over the course of a period of study.

Girl Student at a Desk

Making the Most of Pretesting Season (i.e., the school year!)

Good test scores require the solid grounding of a good curriculum, coupled with the reinforcement of extensive schoolwork. From lesson plans to library excursions to field trips, every learning experience plays an important part! And thorough teaching processes should lead to thorough understanding in every subject.

Measuring students

Feeling Overwhelmed? AHE Can Help!

Homeschool parents have full plates! You're not just teachers and parents. You're coaches, counselors, taxi drivers, pep-squad leaders, debate partners, driving instructors, AND providers and nurturers. At this point in your life, your secretaries (if you had them) would probably need secretaries! And that's where The Academy of Home Education comes in.

Measuring students

Measuring Up

Achievement tests are a great way to track academic growth from year to year. The scores provide lots of helpful information for planning your school year without making it necessary for you to absorb it all at once. Where do you start?

To-Do list on a clipboard

Shipping Disasters—Do's and Don'ts

Thank you so much for testing with us this year! If you've been fretting over test scores or worrying about percentile ranks, rest assured—the scores will be there soon. Meanwhile, it's a hidden danger that keeps us up at night—the dangerous ride your materials take on their way back to us! Here's a peek at our deepest fear and some tips to keep it from coming true with your package.

To-Do list on a clipboard

Your Pre-test Checklist

Does your child have a bad case of pre-testing jitters? Good preparation is the best cure for such an attack, calming the nerves and paving the way for a good testing experience. Use this checklist to help your child stay on track and meet Test Day with confidence!

test preparation

Which Test Prep is Best for Your Student?

Everyone knows that when you're facing a test, you study. But how do you prepare when the test covers almost everything you've been taught? That can be more than a little scary for both student and parent! Thankfully, your student doesn't have to face standardized testing feeling completely unprepared.

evaluating writing skills

Evaluating Writing Skills

Objectivity in teaching can be an elusive accomplishment . . . especially when it comes to something as seemingly subjective as writing, where there isn't a single definitive answer. The simple absolutes of 2 + 2 = 4 can be a refreshingly "safe" area to grade when compared to the nuances of literature and its interpretations or the crafting and arrangement of sentences meant to convey opinions, arguments, and ideas. So how can you objectively evaluate your student's writing abilities?

test scoring

Test scores are here! Now what?

Interpreting a score report can sometimes leave one feeling adrift in a sea of numbers. But a little understanding can help you get the full benefit of these valuable tools. Here's a look into two of the scores you'll find on your report.

mother and daugher reading

Improving Your Reading to Improve Your Test Scores

As you analyze your student's scores, try to look for specific skills that may be improved—rarely is an entire subject weak. Low scores in reading-related areas are especially noteworthy because reading comprehension affects almost every other area of learning. However, the key to improving literacy lies in using a variety of purposeful, rather than simply repetitive, activities.

Activity, Skills, Knowledge

Looking for a REALITY CHECK?

Love it or hate it, we all need a reality check once in a while. Homeschoolers especially come under a lot of pressure from scoffers, skeptics, and supporters alike. Is your child really as brilliant as you think? Will Johnny really grow out of his fear of reading? Have you really covered everything you need to? We think we know the answers, but what if the reality is different?

image of pencils with bite marks all over them

Pencil-Biting Scenarios

For some reason, we all seem to have a bit of morbid curiosity when it comes to “the worst” situations our fellow testers have faced—though we hope we never experience the same ourselves! But for those with such a curiosity, we’ve pulled a couple of “case files” for your enjoyment (and warning!).

Pencil and Test Answer Sheet

No Need to Test: Fact or Fiction?

FICTION: Your curriculum tells you everything you need to know about your child's progress.
FACT: Good curriculum can tell you a lot, but it can't tell you how your child compares to national standards.

Measuring Potential

Going on Record

Sometimes we are asked if achievement scores go on a student’s permanent record. Although the answer is “No, we report the scores only to you,” there are some records you should consider keeping on your own. Good records are useful for future school enrollment, for driving discounts (you’ll need them before you know it!), honors societies, and college scholarships.

Listening with Your Eyes

Toddlers love to have their ears "pulled off" in fun, but sometimes we wonder if our kids really did lose their ears--how else could their listening skills be so terrible?! But good listening uses more than just ears-it uses the eyes, and sometimes even the fingers and mouth.

Like other skills, listening can be developed and improved with practice. Here are some fun, simple, and creative ways to increase listening ability.

'Twas the Night Before Testing

'Twas the Night Before . . . Testing?

'Twas the night before testing
And all through the house
Not a creature was cramming,
Not even a mouse. . . .
With a simple checklist, you can enjoy a peaceful slumber on the "night before testing" with visions of success dancing in your head . . .

The Humble Pencil

The Humble Pencil

Much has been said of the "mighty pen" but what of the humble pencil? From elegant handwriting to charcoal sketches to improvised hair pins, pencils fill many roles! At this busy time of year we take a moment to spotlight this simplest of tools, without whose help students would never be able to take our tests. Next time you use your humble pencil, take a closer look and learn a few life lessons. Remember that …

The (Politically) Correct Answer

The (Politically) Correct Answer

Education has long been a favorite plank in political platforms. Each candidate has his own ideas and values. When you add to that various state and national standards, publishers can find themselves pulled in many directions.

So just how much does this disparity affect standardized testing?

Opposites Attract

Opposites Attract

What do reading and math have to do with each other? Quite a lot. While the skills may seem very different, most real-life situations use a mix of both.

A great way to pull math and reading skills together is through maps, charts, and diagrams.

Confident Scoring

Confident Scoring

Standardized test scores are often criticized for trying to measure a student’s academic achievement based on just a few hours of testing. This is a valid question, but there actually IS a way to tell how much confidence you can put in the accuracy of the scores.

Our testing service uses a score-report style that includes “confidence bands.” This is a way of showing the actual score and how sure the statistics are of its accuracy. Here’s how it works...

Comparing Test Scores: Your Student vs. Norm

Comparing Test Scores: Your Student vs. Norm

Have you ever wondered who your student is keeping up with when he takes an achievement test? Let us introduce you to “Norm.”

We’ll call him “Norm” for now, though he isn’t a “normal” student in the normal sense of the word. In fact, he isn’t a student at all—he is a group of several thousand students called the “normative group” or control group that your student is compared to on test scores.

Common Homeschool Testing Concerns

Common Homeschool Testing Concerns

Flexibility is one of the many advantages of homeschooling. While you can customize your curriculum, this can complicate things when you get to a “standardized” achievement test. Here are some answers to some common questions and concerns.

Go Green with BJU Press Testing & Evaluation Testing Services

“Go Green” with BJU Press Testing & Evaluation Testing Services

It seems that everybody these days is “going green.” While some folks may take it to an extreme and mistakenly worship the earth, there really are ways to “go green” and still honor God—by taking care of what has been entrusted to us. Here are a few of the ways BJU Press Testing & Evaluation testing services “goes green”—and how it can “save green” for your pocketbook!

Teach Higher-Thinking Skills the Fun Way: With Games!

Teach Higher-Thinking Skills the Fun Way: With Games!

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine—and it can help with learning skills, too! Games offer children an opportunity to develop higher-thinking skills that can relate to their schoolwork but without the pressure of a formal setting or the feeling of being under inspection. It’s also an ideal way to bring the family together for both competition and teamwork. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

A Major or a Minor?

A Major or a Minor?

Most young people “try out” different dreams as they grow, from firefighter to doctor to teacher. As they near college, most have narrowed their goals to a specific field but still typically change their major at least once.

Thorough research, sound advice, and good planning save a lot of hassle, time, and money down the road. Here are some tips to help your young person with the process of choosing a career path.

BJU Testing Staff 2009

25 Years of Testing

As Thanksgiving is upon us, we, the staff of BJU Press Testing & Evaluation, extend a heartfelt thanks to you for partnering with us for over 25 delightful years of testing service.

The Practical Side of Test Scores

The Practical Side of Test Scores

“Planning your work and working your plan” helps with more than scheduling your errands—it can make a big difference in organizing your teaching, too. It’s much easier to work through a subject or a grade with your student when you have a plan to follow.

A Peck of Possiblities

A Peck of Possibilities

Invest a few moments to explore the possibilities for using test scores and you'll reap a bushel of benefits!

Navigate Testing Norms!

Navigating Testing Norms

Compasses, GPS systems, and maps are useful tools when it comes to navigation—unless you are trying to navigate your way through the results of achievement tests! But with a little bit of explanation, you should be able to understand the types of scores that you'll see on achievement test results and understand how to apply them.

Mystery Math: Insights from a Math Teacher

Mystery Math: Insights From a Math Teacher

We asked Kathy Kohler, a professor of mathematics at Bob Jones University to help solve some of the mystery of math. Here are some of her insights on curriculum, algebra readiness, sequence, and more.

Books That Fit: Reading with Lexile Measures

Books That Fit: Reading with Lexile Measures

Your daughter comes into the kitchen and tosses a book on the counter. "I can't read this," she says. "It's too hard." You pick up the book. "What do you mean?""The words are too long. I tried looking them up, but there are just too many." Does this scenario sound familiar?

The Final Analysis: Grading Writing

The Final Analysis: Grading Writing

Dawn Watkins discusses the difficult task of grading a student's writing. Focus on what is rather than on what should be. Consider the paper as a whole and look for audience adaption, the message, and the effect on the reader. Then look at the support for the message. Then look for things such as organization and form. Finally, mark spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

Special-Needs Testing

Special-Needs Testing

Testers often ask how to accommodate a student’s special needs. Here are some of the most common needs and suggestions. Please feel free to call and ask about a specific situation. We love to help!

The Smart Start Guide to Test Preparation

The Smart Start Guide to Test Preparation

We've all done it—the night-before-the-test "cram" session. Does it really work? There's certainly a lot to be said for reviewing material. On the other hand, there's only so much you can review—or learn—in a few hours. The key is not to study harder (or faster) but to study smarter.

 


  
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