What Questions Should I Ask a Non-Test Assessment Provider?

The Washington Homeschool Organization wrote an article entitled, "Twenty Questions about Homeschool Annual Testing." Question 10 on their list offers 10 questions to ask a potential assessment provider.

This is how SpritelyMind's (and formerly Northwest Untest's) very own assessment provider, Patrice Davila answered.

1. How do you qualify? What is your educational background and experience? How long have you been doing non-test assessments?

I am a Washington state certificated teacher currently working in the field of education.

I have been working in education for 20 years and have a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, Gifted Education.

I have been providing assessments since 2008.

2. Have you homeschooled your own children or are you familiar with homeschooling?

I am not just familiar with homeschooling, I have lived it, or a variation of it for over 20 years. I have homeschooled in the traditional sense, and I have done it as a single mother, as a military spouse, while working, while chronically ill, with and without money, and through a challenging divorce.

I decided to homeschool my children when I was about five months pregnant with my oldest, who is, at the time of this writing, 20 years old. He graduated with his Associates degree and has transferred to a four-year college to finish his degree in biology. He was homeschooled on and off throughout his childhood alongside his younger sisters (15 and 17 years old), who have also completed their homeschooled high school experiences, and have gone on to college.

3. How do you determine at what level my child is performing? What subject areas do you evaluate and how will you do so? What type of report/results can I expect?

Each child is different. They learn, develop, and mature at their own pace. Comparing them using their age mates, and state standards is often incomplete and inaccurate. Therefore, I must use a combination of neuroscience, basic child development, traditional academic standards, and what I can learn about the child, and their family to ascertain real performance levels in the areas of language arts and math. It is a very customized process that cannot only identify strengths and areas of “weakness,” but offer relevant guidance to parents in helping them develop long term academic plans that are best suited for their particular student.

My assessments touch on science, social studies, history, art and music appreciation, occupational education, health and physical education, but since these are all very broad and difficult to measure without a universal standard, I review how they have been addressed, but do not offer evaluative feedback unless requested.

Every assessment is followed with a comprehensive record of results and certification of testing compliance provided to the family.

4. How long does the assessment take? Where will it occur? What is the cost?

1:1 Assessment takes about an hour and is completed online (via Skype, FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger).

We offer multiple assessment options, so it is best to visit the website (www.SpritelyMind.com) for more details.

5. What will I need to provide you, the assessor? What do I need to do to prepare my child for the assessment?

Prior to your scheduled 1:1, you will be given a Pre-Assessment Survey to complete that simplifies the process of gathering information for your assessment. Completing the Survey before your appointment maximizes your assessment time. The Pre-Assessment Survey and a current reading book is all that is needed for a successful assessment.

No preparation is required. However, students often feel nervous before the assessment, so reassurances that this is not a judgmental or penalizing assessment may be helpful.

You can read more about what to anticipate during an assessment HERE.

6. Can you provide me with some references?

Absolutely, please take a look at some testimonials. These are just a few of the great things that our clients have to say.

"Patrice has a real gift with kids. She is spot on with her assessments. Thank you!" --S.P.

" I loved the tone and wording of every part of it. Just so accepting and loving of unschooling." -- K.P.

Wow! Thank you so much for such a valuable service. Many unschoolers don’t bother with testing or assessment, but for those who want to be 'legal', your service sounds perfect! And what a wonderful site for more rigid homeschoolers to realize that they can relax and trust that their kids are perfect just the way they are. Thank you so much!" --M.H.

"Thank you! We appreciate you services so much!" --B.B. & S.B.

"It is such a blessing to meet with you each year and to allow my girls share what they have learned. Obviously it is an evaluation, but [my girls] think it’s show-and-tell! I love that. They sometimes discuss what they think you will say about a new project, skill, or activity. It’s a good motivator! We sure hope you will continue to offer assessments for the duration of our homeschool journey! Can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have evaluate my kids. Thanks & God bless." --H.S

"Testing time is so easy with your assessments. Thank you." --G.L.

“I really appreciate you providing this service. I was so pleased to find an assessment solution that isn't a standardized test. The checklist was so straightforward and easy to use. It was actually a great reminder of just how much great stuff we've been doing this year! Thank you!" --C.F.

"My son was very nervous at first but you put him at ease right away. Thank you." --J.J.

"Thank you so much Patrice!! This was a great experience and we will be highly recommending you to anybody we can!" --M.C

"I really appreciate the thoughtful feedback you provided." --T.P.

"My kids love working with you." --R.S.