Fulfilling the annual testing requirement seems huge to a new homeschooler, but it is truly not that difficult here in North Carolina.
Testing is simply something that must be done once a year!
Tests must fulfill these requirements:
Many tests fulfill these requirements. The ones most often discussed in the Charlotte area are the California, the Iowa, the Stanfield, the PASS and the Woodcock Johnson. Which test you choose will depend on several factors:
If you just want to stay legal, you don't mind administering the test yourself (it is not difficult) and you want the least expensive option, you can order a CAT for about $25 per child.
It is legal in NC for parents to administer the tests themselves and, in fact, many parents do so. Some homeschool groups provide group testing for their members. WINGS opens their spring group testing to non-members.
If you use a test like the CAT every year, you will be able to compare scores from year to year which may prove helpful. However, if you need more information than the CAT provides (think back to your own achievement tests in school and the percentiles and stanines), another popular option is the Woodcock Johnson. This test is administered in person individually by a qualified tester. The cost is higher than the CAT, typically $65 to $85, however, the feedback involved is much more detailed and useful. Some WJ testers charge more and include curriculum recommendations, etc.
This page is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of testing. It contains the most pertinent information to help homeschooling parents realize that testing in NC does not have to be a big deal and should not be a source of additional stress. Parents decide which test, what level of test, and where it is taken. There is no minimum score that the students have to achieve. We just have to make sure it happens every 12 months for our students 7 to 16!