6 Popular Achievement Tests for Homeschoolers

Do you have questions or feel anxious about annual achievement testing?

Many states require that you give your child an annual achievement test if you’re homeschooling them. I’m from Minnesota and achievement testing is required every year for homeschool children ages 7-17.

Deciding which test to use can be difficult for many homeschool parents. Below you’ll find information on the six most popular achievement tests used by homeschoolers. I hope this takes some of the anxiety out of choosing which test to use!

They all have advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to look for the one that fits your family the best.

Questions to ask yourself as you review these testing options:

1. Do you prefer to give your children their achievement test yourself and do it in your home or do you want someone else to administer the test?

2. Can your child read well enough to do a fill-in-the-bubble test, or do they need a test that is oral or written for an early reader?

3. Can your child handle a timed test, or should you look for an untimed one?

4.  Do you want to be able to test your children all at the same time?

 Check out the comparison chart at the end if you just want a quick comparison.

Here’s a short review of six popular achievement tests:

Stanford Achievement Test- 10th Edition (also known as Stanford 10)

  • Available in paper format for K-12 and online for 3-12th grade
  • Untimedwith flexible guidelines, fill in the bubble format
  • Available in both Complete Battery with a Lexile Assessment and Abbreviated Battery
  • Qualifications to become a test administrator
  • Bachelor of Arts or Science degree OR teacher certification by state & complete training
  • Be approved by testing organization by completing tester certification form
  • Online testing option – the company is the tester and parent doesn’t need a degree to supervise
  • Where to find:

Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)

  • Available in two paper formats for K-12
  • Online option for K-12 with test administrator provided by test provider
  • Form C 2008 for those who want older version
  • Form E 2018- ELL friendly and most up to date, full color and slightly shorter
  • Timed, but takes less time to administer than Stanford 10, fill in the bubble format
  • Permits greater flexibility for students taking tests out of grade level
  • Qualifications to become a test administrator
  • Bachelor of Arts or Science degree OR teacher certification by state
  • Be approved by testing organization by completing tester certification form
  • Testing multiple grade levels together works well 

       Grades 3-8 can test together and grades 9-12 can test together

California Achievement Test

  • Available in two paper formats and two online versions
  • TerraNova, Second Edition® CAT 6 for K-12 (the updated CAT 5)
  • CAT E Survey for grades 4-12 (shorter version)
  • Online California Achievement Test (timed and untimed versions – for grades 2-12)
  • Timed,fill in the bubble format, shorter than both the above tests (there is an untimed online version)
  • Testing multiple grade levels together works well  for some of the CAT tests

Grades 4-12 can be tested together with the CAT E Survey

NWEA MAP Growth Assessment

  • Online format, parent supervises
  • Untimed and adaptive to how the student is performing
  • MAP Growth K–2 is designed for pre-readers with audio-support and a kid-friendly format. For older students with special needs, they offer Text-to-Speech and other built-in tools designed to help them test independently.
  • Where to find:

Peabody Achievement Test

  • Oral test administered by a trained examiner
  • Takes 60-90 minutes to administer, scores available immediately
  • Tester will give test in your home, a public place, or using internet video calling
  • Non-bracketed, gives flexibility for testing out of grade level (gives true Grade Equivalency scores)
  • Where to find testers: Google search Peabody testers in your area

Woodcock-Johnson Test- Fourth Edition

  • Oral test administered by a trained examiner
  • Measures academic achievement, oral language, and cognitive abilities
  • Takes 60-90 minutes to administer but is not timed (extended version takes up to 2-1/2 hours)
  • Where to find testers: Google search Woodcock-Johnson testers in your area

The Minnesota State Law Regarding Annual Assessment of Performance

Subd. 11. Assessment of performance.  (a) Each year the performance of every child ages seven through 16 and every child ages 16 through 17 for which an initial report was filed pursuant to section 120A.24, subdivision 1, after the child is 16 and who is not enrolled in a public school must be assessed using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement examination. The superintendent of the district in which the child receives instruction and the person in charge of the child’s instruction must agree about the specific examination to be used and the administration and location of the examination.


  • You are required to administer or have your child take a standardized achievement test each year.
  • You are NOT required to turn in the results to the school district.
  • You should keep the results in your records.
  • If your child scores at or below the 30th percentile on the total battery score, you are required to obtain additional evaluation to determine if the child has learning problems.
  • If you are registered with an organization that is a recognized Minnesota accrediting association, you are not required to test your children.

Check out the requirements for your state at https://hslda.org/content/laws/

Download a comparison chart of the six achievement tests HERE.