CAT Test

Discussion in 'Homeschooling' started by Tara, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Tara

    Tara New Member

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    My dd is going into 3rd grade next year and level #2 is what I ordered. Well I sent it into the mail when the test was complete and got it back yesterday. This is our first time EVER doing this and I know that people don't normally share their childs scores, but I'm really concerned, and am not sure if I should hold her back or not.

    Reading - Vocab. Stanine 5
    Compprehension. " " 4

    Math - Computation " " 4
    Concepts & Problems " " 2

    Language - Auding Mechanics " " 4
    Usage & Structure " "4
    Spelling " "3

    When I looked over her math skills, she got all of the computation right, but didn't finish before the time was up. Does this reflect how well she does? Do I need to look for different curriculum? Please help. Don't know what to do.
     
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  3. 2littleboys

    2littleboys Moderator

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    I would especially read the first paragraph of this and then keep working. Call her 3rd next year, but work at whatever level she's able to do without getting frustrated.

    http://www.cestesting.com/system/files/Interpreting Results of the California Achievement Tests.pdf

    Tests that have a percentile or ranked score are designed to weed out test takers in a variety of ways so that they can easily be ranked. They almost always use multiple choice questions, they use tricky questions, they don't test things that "all" second graders should know, and they purposely give more questions than the average student would be able to complete in the time allotted. The range of reference here is 1 thru 9, where 5 is average. Seeing that she has a lot of 4's, she's probably right on track. The 2 is just one score from one section. If you KNOW she knows how to do the math but seems to be slow, work on her speed. If you don't think she knows the material, do a little back-tracking. Don't hold her back a grade and make her feel stupid just because of one test. Maybe she was tired or bored or something. It's just a snapshot of a particular set of information at a particular time in someone's life. A lot of factors go into that score. All the language sections look good except spelling. Either they used tricky words or questions in the spelling section, or she reads better than she spells. Either way, that's normal. Reading is easier than spelling. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  4. Tara

    Tara New Member

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    She's actually doing 1st grade for spelling right now, and will do 2nd for next year. So I expected that score to come out quite low. She was also quite stressed over being timed for a test, which didn't help.
     
  5. 2littleboys

    2littleboys Moderator

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    I wouldn't worry about it, then. She'll be fine. Just keep moving ahead.
     
  6. Lindina

    Lindina Active Member

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    If she's never taken a standardized test before, then the unfamiliar format can lower scores somewhat. Maybe next time get one or two of those "test prep" workbooks (like from Spectrum) and have her practice on the TYPES of questions that will be on her test. You can have her work on them a couple of pages a day until she's used to them.

    Lots of 4's -- not terrible at all! I can't quite remember how CAT does the spelling, but you might practice spelling in the same way through the year, especially if you do spelling by dictation. You might make a sheet where she picks out the correctly spelled one, if that's how CAT does it. Or give her practice with sentences where you've underlined 3 or 4 words in it, where one of the underlined ones is misspelled (and a place at the end to mark if there's no mistake), if that's how CAT does it. Just because these are so different than how most people call out words to be spelled by dictation.

    For Concepts and Problems, I think that's mostly recognizing things like math symbols (ft, m, yd, $, which digit is in 10's place, temperaure, etc.) and word problems. Maybe increase the word problems in her daily life? Just to have her be used to them.

    I wouldn't hold her back, or change curriculum if what you have is working for you (and her). I'd prefer just giving her the experience of the formats of the questions, just working a page or two here and there into the whole of her school day. She didn't do badly -- I bet she does a whole lot better next time!

    ETA: When do you run your school year? Most of these tests are normed for a Sept-June school year, or August-May, with the ps giving tests in late March or April. If your school year runs much differently than this, it can make your child's score look different than it would otherwise. For that reason, I always try to test as late in the school year as I possibly can...
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  7. Tara

    Tara New Member

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    We usually run school from Sept.-Apr. or May. Lindina, are you saying you would test late April? I gave her the test this month because she was done the subjects needed to take the C.A.T. How does taking her test later in the year make her score differently?
     
  8. TeacherMom

    TeacherMom New Member

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    never took standardized testing here, so what do the numbers mean? IS that what grade level they scored on or what?
     
  9. 2littleboys

    2littleboys Moderator

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    This test isn't the type that gives you a grade level score. It's the type that ranks you within grade level peers. If you lined up every 2nd grader who took that test, you'd get a bell curve with mostly 5's, a few 1's, a few 9's, and moderate amounts of everything in between. In this case, 4's are a little below average, but still good. She's what I would consider a "B student" if I were looking ONLY at this test.
     
  10. TeacherMom

    TeacherMom New Member

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    oh cool thats good then
     
  11. Tara

    Tara New Member

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    Ok, so I e-mailed Christian Liberty Press so I could get a better understanding of what I was looking at, this is what they said, "Good morning Tara,
    I looked at her results and checked with our curriculum developer. Considering her scores she would assign mostly 2nd grade materials."
    Really? I thought she did so well during the school year. Then the test came and not only was she timed but extremely nervous. So, basically she should take everything over again except for science and history because they didn't test in this area! So, I'm a little angry, and hurt right now with all kinds of thoughts (am I a bad teacher, wrong curriculum, ect.). Should I have her take a different test like the Hewitt(PASS), which is not a timed exam? State Law in Minnesota says that if a child falls below grade level they need to get assesed for learning disabilities. I can't see anything going on with her that would even suggest this! What do I do? This is my first time doing any of this, and I just feel like crying.
     
  12. TeacherMom

    TeacherMom New Member

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    I wouldn't repeat the grade for her, she is in younger levels yet anyway, just review the areas that she needs to relearn and do a few placement tests that will help her relax when she takes tests.
     
  13. Tara

    Tara New Member

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    Where do I find these tests?
     
  14. 2littleboys

    2littleboys Moderator

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    Does your state allow you to use www.LetsGoLearn.com? If so, I'd definitely go with that. It's very child-friendly, and it'll give you an actual grade level for each subsection. You'll know exactly what she needs to work on and what she doesn't. You'll be able to compare her score with your own state's standards. You'll have a parent report with suggestions about how to teach each item so that she does better next year (even if she tests way high on it, it'll still give you those suggestions... not just for areas that fall behind where you'd like them). The test is NOT timed, its made like a computer game, and a talking monkey guides the child through the test. You can sit right there with her and help her with the test itself (not the questions & answers, but the format, I mean ... if she has a question about what she's supposed to be doing).
     
  15. Embassy

    Embassy New Member

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    I wouldn't base any decision based on a single test. If there is the issue of state law and testing for learning disabilities I would go with another untimed test and do some test prep beforehand so she is used to taking tests. Otherwise, I would look at her actual day to day work this past school year. How has she done? Has she struggled or done fine? This is your best indicator. Do you as her mother and her teacher feel she is ready for 3rd grade work? If so, move her on.
     
  16. TeacherMom

    TeacherMom New Member

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    Tara there are tests for some of the different lessons , in case you want to buy one they give you an assessment kind of test to see where to place them. This is actually what I used to check where my kids were at one point. AOP.com has an online downloadable one for english and math?
    I had my dcs use these because I could let them work at it for so long each day for a week and then it has you stop when you find you are getting too many wrong answers. This tells us what level they would be at. Also lets you see what was wrong and what areas are needed to work on.
     
  17. Lindina

    Lindina Active Member

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    Yes, I do test as late in April as I possibly can. I would test in May if I could, but under the present agreement I have with test suppliers, it has to be done in April. The tests are normed on kids who start school in Aug/Sept, and end in April/May. The later they test in the year, the more of their grade level work they have had a chance to learn. The more of their work they know, the more they get correct, the better the score. Especially any of mine who may have finished a level early and are started on the next level before test-time. I generally choose the level test that most of their work is on -- for instance, this year I'm going to give Ben a third grade level test because he's reading, spelling, doing science, Engish, and Bible (it's not tested, but points to reading comprehension) at third grade level. He's doing math at a fourth grade level right now, so I'm anticipating that his math score should be very high this year.

    The response you got from Christian Liberty was (HAD to be) based solely on test scores. But there's so much they DON'T know about your child that would enter into any real decision-making. YOU know your child better than anyone else. YOU know the progress she has made this year. Not all progress shows on academic standardized tests. You keep on the path YOU think is best, at the pace YOU feel is appropriate for your child. Give her those experiences (test-prep, timing certain activities through the year, marking some things by darkening the circle, etc.) that will get her more accustomed to the tests process. If she still scores below where you think she should be, then revisit the curriculum question at the later time.
     

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