How to Grade Tests in Homeschool High School

By request: How to grade tests in homeschool high school.
How to Grade Tests in Homeschool High School

How to Grade Tests in Homeschool High School

Grading our homeschool high schoolers’ tests can be almost as stressful for us moms as taking the tests. We received requests for help on how to handle test grading, so thought we would share some ideas in a post.

The first thing to remember is: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. That means there’s not ONE right way to grade a test.

This is partly because there are different kinds of tests. There are also different kinds of students with different kinds of goals. Let’s talk about with each group of homeschool high schoolers:

  • Multiple choice or matching questions
  • Short answer questions
  • Essay or long answer questions
  • Other assessments (papers, projects, presentations)

Before we start talking about grading the tests, remember:

How to score tests for homeschool high schoolers with learning difficulties and special needs

You know your teen and you know your teen’s goals. Each high schooler in this group has varying abilities and goals. Some parents do pass/fail for at least some tests. However, with my kids I varied between two methods of grading. Some do testing orally and score as normal (see below).

You can also create alternate assessments such as projects or presentations. You can score these with a rubric.

For these teens adapt any test to meet your high schooler’s goals and abilities. You are homeschooling to do what is educationally best for your teen. However, for homeschoolers who will be college bound, you can work on test-taking skills over the high school years.

Grading tests is a chore but it is rewarding to see your teens gaining mastery of their courses.

How to score tests for homeschool high schoolers who are not college bound

You know your teen and you know your teen’s goals. For career-bound homeschool high schoolers, you might want to grade most rigorously in courses that will build skills for their career or success in life.

Here are some tips:

If your curriculum has a rubric or scoring guide, use it or adapt it to fit your needs.

If no scoring guide is provided, here are tips:

  • Many tests have a mix of multiple choice, short answer and sometimes essay or long-answer questions.
    • Multiple choice (also matching and other quick-answer questions) are often given 1-3 points each.
    • Short-answer questions (questions that require a word or two, or even a sentence) are often given 3-5 points each. You can decide what to include in the grade for short-answer questions:
      • Does the answer need to be a full sentence?
      • Are you grading for grammar and punctuation? (This is not necessary unless these are an issue you two have been working on.)
      • Is that answer factually correct?
      • If you are including the grammar and punctuation as part of the answer, it is common to give more points on the answer being factually correct. (For instance: 1 point for full sentence, 1 point for correct grammar and punctuation, 3 points for correct information.)
      • Remember there’s not ONE right way to score a test, so do what is best for your educational goals.
    • Essay or long-answer questions are usually given significantly more points, such as 10-25 depending on how much information needs to be imparted.
      • Does the answer need to be a full sentence?
      • Are you grading for grammar and punctuation?
      • Is that answer factually correct?
      • How much of the possible information is included in the answer? (For instance, if an essay/long-answer question was: Describe five characteristics of a nocturnal mammal. Teens would need to include all five characteristics for full credit.)
      • Score according to your goals:
      • For instance: 1 point for paragraph formation, 1 point for correct grammar and punctuation (if these are your goals), 3 points each for each of the five characteristics of the nocturnal animal (if the each characteristic is sufficiently described in detail). If details are not sufficiently described, then partial credit is assigned. This gives a possible total of 17 points for this question.
      • Another instance: 2 points each for each each for each of the five characteristics of the nocturnal animal (if the each characteristic is sufficiently described in detail). If details are not sufficiently described, then partial credit is assigned. This gives a possible total of 10 points for this question.
  • At the end of the test, total the number of possible points. Then total the number points earned for correct answers. Then divide the earned points by the total points. For instance: if the test had a total of 88 possible points and the teen got 78 points correct, you would divide 78/88=89%.

Another way to score tests is to start with a total of possible score of 100. Go through the test and assign total possible credit for correct answer of 100. Then you subtract the number of incorrect answers from the 100 total possible.

For instance: If 10 multiple-choice questions were 3 points each for 30 possible points, 10 short-answer questions were 5 points each for a possible 50 points, and 2 long-answer questions for 10 points each for possible 20 points, you would have 100 points. Then if the teen missed 1 multiple choice and 2 short answers, they would lose 13 points. Their score would be 100-13=87.

How to score tests for college-bound homeschool high schoolers

Follow the guidelines for non-college-bound teens but increase the rigor. For instance, expect more details in long answer questions (perhaps two paragraphs instead of one or a paragraph per characteristic of the above-mentioned nocturnal animal).

  • Many college professors use multiple-choice questions because of their ease of grading, so be sure students are comfortable answering them without overthinking. Students will also face lots of essay questions in some colleges, so they should become used to working through them as well as understanding what it feels like to be graded rigorously:
  • For instance: write legibly, pack information and details in answers, go for in-depth rather than quick answers (but pace yourself so you do not run out of time)

Again, remember that there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school so grade in a way that helps prepare your teens for their next phase of life.

 

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How to Grade Tests in Homeschool High School

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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