Discovery Testing is typically done on a computer (isn't everything these days). I teach K-2 and they are only given the Math and Reading portions of the test. I believe the higher grades take Science as well. Each test has approximately 30-40 questions so it isn't very time consuming. It is also a great predictor of FCAT performance (the state standardized test for grades 3+ that may determine promotion/retention and school grade). I've never administered the FCAT (nor taken it) so I can't really give input about that particular test.
I have to admit to the pleasant tone of this topic. I went to sleep thinking there would be a much different response.
The two States that I have the most experience with (and know lots of homeschoolers in each) are TN and NY. TN requires standardised tests in 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade. In NY you need to meet with a certified teacher and show them samples of the child's work and have the teacher certify that the child is learning and standardised testing each year.
I am not completely against Standardized testing. I know many, many homeschoolers. In my rough guess, I would say for every 10 homeschoolers I know, 9 of them do a great job. They do school every school day and use curriculum. 1 out of the 10, really slacks and the child is years behind. While not ideal, the testing is a way to find that 10th child. (I also am not a fan of unschooling, but that is another debate)
I strongly do not think that everyone should be required to use the same curriculum. Poor curriculum choices in public schools is one reason many people homeschool.
I am not a fan of standardized testing when it is used to determine teacher's work or a student's ability...especially to graduate. We have MCAS here and I HATE them. It absolutely makes everyone cater to a set of tests and I find that gross.
Mom to Elizabeth (6) and Corinne (4)
This is where they are going with common core. It will be computer-based that adjusts for the student. Kind of like placement tests in college. If the math question is 3*3 and the student answers 6, the next question will be easier and keep adjusting to get an accurate snapshot. The tests are supposed to include writing also.
I hate standardized tests! And to base teacher performance on students' scores? Well, it just rubs me the wrong way.
There are many examples were credit/blame is misplaced. I guess an example would be the band teacher. A band class that has access to instruments at home and supportive parents can practice, practice, practice. Kids putting in 20 hours of practice outside of school are going to sound so much better than those who don't have access to instruments and are busy fixing dinner for their younger siblings. So when the first group makes state and represents the entire county, is it the teacher's doing? Should he/she get credit for these awesome musicians? Likewise, should the teacher of the second group be blamed because she does the best she/he can but just doesn't have enough hours in the day or instruments to loan to get those students to go further. Our band is awesome and the teacher works her butt off, but it's not all on her shoulders the way those in the pay-tied-to-test-scores camp want it to be.
Last year I had a student flat-line. She was in honors and AVID and got as few as she could right. In my subject I think it was 2, science 6. It was clearly intentional.
Ethanwinfield- I have had so many great experiences with common core that I hope you aren't right about where it is heading! I feel like finally attention is being paid to nonfiction, and I am happy as nonfiction picture books are my passion.