Plan ahead to avoid devastating test results.
Whether your child is a super-smart, gifted test-taker, or struggling test-o-phobe, there is one thing that could ruin their test results completely. A total failure on the part of the school giving the test.
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In one month, there were two major problems with tests, just in our local area.
1. Unexpectedly canceled tests.
Students at Franklin High School showed up to take the SAT test, and it was canceled. They were locked out. Twice. It happened twice. Apparently they didn't have enough teachers to act as proctors for the test. The teens were left standing outside. They couldn't take the test and could only reschedule for another month, later in the school year.
High school students should have test scores available to submit to colleges, along with their college applications, around October of senior year.
I recommend that students take the SAT or ACT test in junior year, not senior year. Taking it in early spring and late spring will help you avoid last minute panic. If your child is unable to perform (perhaps a hospitalization, or tests are unexpectedly canceled) you will still have time to retake the test.
If you notice administrative errors at the school where you take a test, search for a different school. Most public and private schools will allow homeschoolers to take the SAT and ACT, SAT Subject Tests and CLEP. If one school doesn't work, try a different school or school district.
2. Unexpectedly lost test scores.
Nearly 100 high school students had their AP tests lost. Some sort of technical problem. Some student scores arrived. Some didn't. Students are now worried that college admission and scholarships are on the line.
The solutions are few. Students can get a refund, but they still won't have the test they need. They can take the test again, but the AP is hard to prepare for, required concentrated effort, and isn't offered very often. Or they could get a "projected score" if the AP receive some parts of the test, but not all colleges will accept projected scores.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket, assuming that test scores are the answer for everything. Provide multiple ways to demonstrate your child has a high quality education. How?
Tests are most commonly used for outside documentation: SAT Subject Tests, and AP Tests. A lesser-known test can also be used. CLEP Exams are offered year-round, every day of the week, including weekends and summer. Beyond test scores, students can provide outside documentation with excellent grades taken by dual enrollment, letters of recommendation, a work resume, great application essays. Parents can provide outside documentation by carefully describing home education with course descriptions and comprehensive records.
Be knowledgeable about tests, but don't assume they are always the solution for everyone, and that things always run smoothly. Plan ahead, and be balanced in your approach to homeschool tests so you aren't surprised by devastating test results.
How to learn about high school tests.
Learn strategies, secrets, and pro tips on the ever-changing PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, ACT, and CLT with my free online class, High School Testing Simply Explained
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