Creating Tests For Eight Graders. Homeschooling question

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by deb1, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. deb1

    deb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2008
    I home school. Although I am religious, I would rather use secular material then what is put out by religious organizations(just my choice, nothing meant against those who do use Abeka, Bob Jones etc.)

    This year I got a secular, used World History Textbook for my eight grader. I want her to develop good study habits and have always given her the science and history test that came with whatever curriculum that I use.

    This book came with out an answer book or test. So, I have been creating my own.

    When I was in school, we rarely answered essay questions. Mainly the test was true/false or multiple choice. It took me awhile to get used to more in depth questions when I got older.

    So, I have been making up test questions that she has to answer with a couple of paragraphs each. I think that I gave her six essay and two fill in the blank questions. She also had to define her vocabulary.

    She hasn't complained. But I was wondering what is expected of public or private school kids her age? Do you think that I am making her do too much or too little?

    On the test that I am required to give her for the year, she does very well but I want to make certain that she is prepared for college in a few years.

    I don't care if public school teachers answer the question. That might help.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well, in my state (which would actually include two states, as I live in one and teach in a border state), there are many more multiple choice questions than open-response type questions (probably what you are calling "essay"). So you might consider 5-10 multiple choice questions to each 1 open response question.

    You might want to google Blooms Taxonomy though, because here's the thing these days: even the multiple choice questions should require some higher level thinking. When I was growing up, most multiple choice questions were simple recall types, no thinking really, you either knew it if you had it memorized or you didn't.

    One more thing...there is a difference between essay and open response questions. Essay questions have definite right or wrong answers for the most part. Open Response tasks have more than one correct answer, and generally ask the person to APPLY the knowledge they've learned to a new situation or scenario. You can google "open response questions" for different subjects, and find many school district sites that make open response question available for different grade levels/diff. subject areas...

    Hopefully some of this made sense to's difficult to explain in a few paragraphs...
  3. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    When I was in about 7th to 8th grade, our tests were some fill in the blank, multiple choice, or true and false, followed by short answer (Questions that can be answered in a paragraph), and one or two essays. We usually had about 5 or 6 short answer, but it depended on the teacher mostly. That's been the format of most of my tests even through college.

    I hope that helps a little bit! I always liked open ended better than mult. choice because there was the opportunity for partial credit.
  4. deb1

    deb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2008
    Quote:Thank you. that is very helpful
  5. deb1

    deb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2008
    Quote:I did also.
  6. deb1

    deb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2008
    You both have helped me a lot.[​IMG]
  7. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Most Jr high and High school tests are fill in the blank, multiple choice, true-false with the occasional essay or short answer. However, there would be the occasional teacher who gave essay only, which gave most students problems. If you are teaching her with the intentional of her hopefully going to college someday, I think you are doing an excellent job! Most students enter college expecting tests similar to HS tests and many are not so. Lower level general education courses in college are similar set to HS tests, but other college tests are essay ONLY. I think a mix of everything is fine as well as long as she is comfortable with essay (a few paragraphs) and short answer (a few sentences) as well. Even if it is mostly multiple choice and/or fill-in the blank with a few short answer and essay questions, she would be far better prepared than most students at her level! GREAT job!!! [​IMG]

    Another benefit to her starting essay and short answer questions now, is that she HAS to be familiar with the answers now. If she isn't you know that she isn't and you can go over the material again. Too many students squeak by on multiple choice without actually understanding the material, and when they get to the more advanced subjects they struggle (and sometimes end hating the subject).
  8. arabookworm

    arabookworm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    when I was about that age, I don't think we had very many essays, but we would have questions taht required about a paragraph to answer. I would give tests that were multiple choice, true/false, etc. and add some short answer questions. then have her do essays that are due after a couple of days. that way she learns to proofread and edit and such.

    another question is what kind of essays you assign. AP history tests have essays that are in specific format, so you could try getting her used to those, they tend to be difficult, so it would prob. help her a lot to get a head start learning to deal with those. and in case you didn't know, homeschooled kids can register for AP tests too. many colleges give credits to students who get 4s or 5s on AP tests.

    if you want more info on the AP test essays, you can pm me. [​IMG]
  9. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    I think essay questions are more challenging, and require actual understanding of the material. It's good that you are incorporating them into your teaching.

    I would also suggest that you use true/false and multiple choice, however, because you'll find a lot of that in the introductory college level courses. I think multiple choice questions are a rather poor teaching tool, but they're used in entry level courses simply because they can be graded/scored by anyone with an answer key. It would be a good idea to send your kids off to school with some practice with these sorts of questions, even though they are rather easy compared to essay formats. I've always joked that I'd have gone to med school if it was all multiple choice.

    Essay questions can be rather easy or rather hard, though, depending on how they are written. With a broad question, it's easy to structure the answer to show off everything you know, while avoiding what you do not. A more specific question is harder to answer without knowing the material.

    Example #1: Explain the causes that led to the Second World War. - Relatively easy to answer. There were numerous causes, and it's easy to stick to what you know and still write a solid answer.

    Example #2: Explain how the Washingon Naval Treaty may have influenced events leading to the Second World War. - Much harder, you can't coast through this one unless you are familiar with the specific topic in the question.
  10. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    You might want to look into CLEP, too.

    If you've got a smart, college-bound kid, you can score a big head start on college credits simply through testing. The sample tests in CLEP guides might give you ideas for coming up with questions / question formats for advanced high school material too. Never too soon to start planning. [​IMG]

    The down side to testing out of all the easy entry-level college stuff is that you'll not have any mickey mouse courses to pad your GPA. [​IMG] I started taking CLEP tests at 16, so your 8th grader is not so far away from being able to, unless they've changed the requirements.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009

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