TEACHING TO THE TEST
One of the greatest gifts of homeschooling is the freedom to customize your child’s education.
(This is part 6 in our series. If you missed our first post, you can find it here.)
Without formal testing, it is unreasonable to expect a teacher who is responsible for a large classroom of students to know with certainty whether those students are comprehending the material presented. But in the intimacy of the homeschool environment, there are a variety of ways to make this assessment.
ACADEMIA VS. THE MARKETPLACE
There’s a cartoon that has made the rounds on the internet. In it, a human resources person sits behind a desk, interviewing an applicant.
The interviewer asks, “I see you did well in school, but what real life skills do you have?”
“Tests,” answers the applicant. “I can take tests.”
Though we might laugh at the cartoon, we recognize a real danger. Do we want to produce test takers or problem solvers?
BUILDING UPON A SOLID FOUNDATION
We have done little testing in our homeschool. The curricula we have used and the resources we publish emphasize the importance of using discernment when processing new information.
In place of testing, we have done much writing about and discussing the subjects we study. In so doing, we have developed and strengthened both critical thinking and communication skills.
Yet as dual-enrollment students, it quickly became apparent that Roger and Ryan need to excel at test taking. Fortunately, because we already established a solid foundation of critical thinking, learning to take tests has not been difficult.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
In previous posts, we discussed benefits we enjoy with CollegePlus such as:
- Earning college credit for a fraction of the cost
- Earning college credit while still in high school
- Completing college coursework without leaving home
- Flexibility to hit the pause button when unexpected opportunities arise
- Career & Life-planning resources
- A Wise and Experienced Coach
Another benefit offered by CollegePlus is TrailMarker, a flashcard application they designed to help students study for competency-based exams.
Prior to starting the CollegePlus program, Roger and Ryan used Quizlet to help them to successfully prepare for the Biology CLEP. But they both agree that TrailMarker is superior to Quizlet. It helps them structure study time so they’re sufficiently prepared for college-level testing.
A TIME FOR EVERYTHING
The freedom we enjoy as homeschoolers has allowed us to cultivate a love of learning. We have been free to go deep into subjects that intrigue us. I am so grateful that we weren’t forced to “teach to the test.”
But there is a time for everything, and it appears we have entered the (literal) season of testing. (smile)
In addition to earning credit by examination, Roger and Ryan have earned credit at home through Lumerit. We’ll tell you more about those courses in our next post.
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(If you’d like to learn more about CollegePlus, click here.)
(Read the complete Making the Most of High School Series by clicking here.)