We received the test results from the standardized test we had Big Sister take last month - less than three weeks after returning them for scoring. Her results surprised me, mostly because she did far better on the reading section than I expected her to. Based on last year's scores (from a different test, so comparing apples to oranges to some extent) she's advanced two grade levels in reading so far this year. I guess I'd attribute that to our focused work in this area this year, but overwhelmingly I'd point to her developmental readiness. She's easily done 90% of that advancing in the past 3 months. It's been amazing to watch. I still get frustrated that her reading materials of choice are Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, and Babymouse, but it seems to be translating over to an ability to read other forms of writing. I'm trying to bite my tongue for now, and rest assured in the fact that she's being exposed to other literature when I read aloud to her at night. Following my own advice here: choose your battles wisely, and limit the number of battles being fought at any one time. ;P
We will definitely use the PASS again next year. I think it's a good, lower-anxiety testing experience than other standardized testing options. The absence of time constraints allowed me to back off and let my (very slow reading) child test without any interference or adjustments from me. The test results consist of a RIT score, showing what grade level has been achieved in Reading, Math, and Language, as well as a percentile ranking against homeschooled students, and traditionally schooled students. Feedback is provided in several testing areas, suggesting skills that should be focused on for improvement, or activities that will help reinforce skills already achieved.
The PASS (Personalized Achievement Summary System) can be ordered through Hewitt Homeschooling Resources, and meets the testing requirement under HBI laws in Washington State.