Achievement and College Admission Tests
Any homeschooled student is required to take a nationally standardized achievement test annually. By law, this test must measure achievement in the areas of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. The most commonly used achievement tests are the TerraNova, California Achievement Test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the Stanford Achievement Test, and the Metropolitan Achievement Test, and Woodcock Johnson.
Two college admission tests, the ACT with Essay and the SAT with Essay, have been approved by the NC Division of Non-Public Education to fulfill the state’s yearly testing requirement.
Below is a list of tests to know about:
- The Graduation Equivalency Diploma (GED) is a test taken in lieu of high school graduation. Since homeschoolers can issue a diploma, they do not need to use this test. Although some feel it brings closure to high school, it can carry a stigma of being a high school drop out and may hurt future chances of getting into college or the armed forces.
- The PSAT is usually taken in the tenth or eleventh grades and is offered once a year in October. Juniors must take the test to be eligible for National Merit Scholarships. Other scholarships may also be based on these scores. Unlike the SAT, local high schools can control who takes the test. To register, contact a local high school (private schools are more likely to be cooperative) in late August or early September to ask if your student can take the test with them. For information on which schools give the test, call 609-771-7070. The PSAT code for NC is 99 34 99.
- The SAT is a basic test of writing, math, verbal skills and reasoning, and is used to measure the students potential success in college. Colleges require either the SAT or the ACT for admission. The test is offered seven times a year and can be taken innumerable times. Colleges usually accept the highest scores from tests taken at different times. It is commonly taken in the spring of the junior year. To register for this test go to www.collegeboard.org. The SAT code for homeschool is 970 000.
- SAT subject tests cover specific subject areas. Some colleges may require some of these for admission, especially from homeschoolers. These tests are given in conjunction with the SAT. You can take up to three a day, but you may do better taking them one at a time. However, there is separate registration fee for each day you test, as well as a fee for the test itself. The SAT homeschool code is 970 000. To register go to collegeboard.com.
- The ACT, along with the SAT, is one of the two college admission tests required by some colleges for admission. All of the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina accept SAT or ACT scores in support of an application for admission. The UNC System encourages homeschool students to submit both scores. To register for this test go to www.act.org. The ACT code for a NC homeschool is 969-999.
- Advanced Placement (AP) tests results are used by colleges to waive college classes and award credit for those classes. The tests, which are primarily given at high schools in the spring, are usually given to students who have taken advanced placement courses, but the courses are not a requirement. Detailed AP course descriptions, teacher’s guides and sample tests may be purchased. Contact your local high school counselor’s office for information on registering for these tests or call 888-CALL-4-AP. (Private schools are more likely to be cooperative.) Check with your prospective college to see which tests are accepted.
- College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams are designed to give students college credit by examination. These tests are primarily given at colleges and community colleges. Check with your prospective college to find out which tests they accept and what their administration schedule is.