Q: Who has to test?
A: As per the law in North Carolina, all students (beginning with those entering the 2nd grade and all through each grade to include 12th grade) have to be administered a standardized test each year. For students entering the 2nd grade, they would test in the spring of their 1st grade year. Any student who is at least 7 years old must test regardless of their grade level. See below for more information on high school seniors.
Q: What subjects are covered on this version of the CAT?
A: The test we use is the California Achievement Test Complete Battery (NOT the CAT 5), however it does NOT include history or science. The subjects covered in the test are:
- Reading (Vocabulary and Comprehension)
- Mathematics (Computation, Concepts, and Problems)
- Language (Capitalization, Punctuation, Spelling, Usage and Structure).
Q: How do I determine what level to sign up for/order for my student(s)?
A: The levels are divided by the grade the student is ENTERING:
- Level 1--Entering Grade 2 (Current 1st Grade Students)
- Level 2--Entering Grade 3 (Current 2nd Grade Students)
- Level 3--Entering Grades 4, 5, and 6 (Current 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Students)
- Level 4--Entering Grades 7, 8, and 9 (Current 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Students)
- Level 5--Entering Grades 10, 11, and 12 (Current 9th, 10th and 11th Grade Students)
Q: Why do you use the 1970s California Achievement Test?
A: We use the older version of this nationally normed achievement test because the newer editions reflect a lower academic standard. Most educators will acknowledge the fact that our nation's educational standards, as far as student achievement in the basic skills is concerned, have dropped considerably since the early 1970s. It is our professional opinion that the more recent versions of achievement tests simply do not demand as high a standard of achievement because too many of today’s students are ill-equipped to handle the level of evaluation that was common in the early 1970s. The older achievement tests permit us to compare our students on a national level with students in the public and private schools who were tested prior to the period of the steady decline in student achievement in the government schools during the 1980s and early 1990s. To the best of our knowledge, there is no distributor of achievement test materials that will allow any homeschooler to use the latest editions of their tests. Most providers of current achievement tests must approve test administrators before shipping their tests. Suppliers of the achievement test materials most often utilized by homeschoolers and home school organizations will usually not permit their tests to be used without a government-licensed individual being directly involved in the testing process. In such cases, parents are often unable to oversee the testing themselves. We view this stipulation as an unnecessary intrusion into the privacy and sanctity of Christian home schools. In conclusion, while we are not inherently opposed to using newer tests, we are not in favor of using more recent achievement tests that would be an inadequate evaluation of our customers’ students or require proctoring by individuals who are state sanctioned or licensed. Therefore, for the reasons listed above, we have continued to use the 1970 edition of the nationally recognized California Achievement Test.
Q: Do I have to use a timer for this test even if I test outside the group?
A: Yes. This test is designed to be a timed test. There are other tests available for purchase that are not timed that still satisfy the State's requirement for standardized testing if you do not like the test to be timed for your student. One such test is the PASS Achievement Test (Grades 3-8), which can be ordered by visiting www.hewitths.com.
Q: Is April/May too soon to take the test since I'm not finished with my curriculum yet?
A: No. The test is designed to be administered in the spring and is NOT dependent on the completion of the school year. Standardized tests are not end-of-year tests.
Q: What do I do if my child fails the test?
A: There is no pass OR fail on a standardized test. There are only results that help the administrator make decisions about their student's education/curriculum. Putting pressure on the student to "pass" their test or to "not fail" their test creates an unnecessary test anxiety for the student.
Q: I have a senior that's taken the SAT/ACT/PSAT this year. Do I still have to administer a standardized test to be compliant with the state?
A: Neither the SAT nor the PSAT qualify as a standardized test and therefore does not exempt you from administering one for your senior. The ACT is accepted, however. So, SAT/PSAT--yes, you still have to test. ACT--no.