FAQs - Testing Service
Why does Christian Liberty still use the 1970 edition of the California Achievement Test (CAT)?
We understand that there are many, newer achievement testing options available, but we still use this older version of the California Achievement Test for a number of reasons:
We believe newer editions of similar testing reflect a lower academic standard in comparison. It is our professional opinion that the more recent versions of similar tests have been adjusted to compensate for the declining achievement scores in public schools.
We are convinced that the 1970 version of the CAT reflects a standard much more in keeping with the academic level of our own curriculum at Christian Liberty.
The older version of the CAT still accurately measures the basic skill development of students in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Therefore, state officials who insist that private home school students be tested to determine whether they are making satisfactory progress in the basic skills can still rely upon this 1970 version of the CAT. After all, the supposed purpose for state-mandated achievement testing is simply to determine whether children are receiving an education that will permit them to be functionally literate and, therefore, not be a burden to themselves or society. Generally speaking, the basic concepts involved with reading, writing, and arithmetic have remained the same through the years.
To the best of our knowledge, most providers of current achievement tests must approve test administrators before shipping their tests. In short, most suppliers of test materials will require test administrators to meet certain government or publisher imposed requirements. In such cases, parents are often unable to oversee the testing themselves while the test is being administered. We view this as an unnecessary intrusion into the privacy and sanctity of Christian home schools in general, and our testing service in particular.
In short, while we are not inherently opposed to using newer achievement tests, we are not in favor of using material that may provide an inadequate evaluation of our customers' students or require proctoring by individuals who are state sanctioned or licensed.
I ordered the online testing service (either CAT or TestPoint), but I have not received instructions on how to begin. How do I start the test?
After completing your order, you should receive an email within 10 to 15 minutes with instructions and recommendations for administering the test. If you do not receive this message, check your spam or junk email folder to see if it was routed there. Sometimes email spam filters are very strict and can route the test emails accordingly. The email is generated by our testing host site and will appear as <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
If you do not see the email within 1 business day of completing your purchase, contact our Customer Service department by telephone or email and we can re-send the information to you. Please do not purchase a second test, as this will only result in additional charges being accrued.
I see that two (or more) of my students in different grades are taking the same California Achievement Test. Is this a mistake?
Depending on the grade levels of your students, this is likely correct. There are five levels of the California Achievement Test, most of which (starting with the Level 3 CAT) are designed to be used with multiple grade levels. For example, the Level 3 CAT is intended for students entering grades 4, 5, and 6. The difference, however, is in how the tests are graded. A 4th grader would not be expected to know the same amount of material as a 6th grader, and so the scoring would be adjusted accordingly.
Listed below is a guide that shows the correlation between the CAT level and student grade level. If after reviewing this table you still believe you received the incorrect test, please contact our Customer Service department.
- CAT Level 1: for students entering 2nd grade
- CAT Level 2: for students entering 3rd grade
- CAT Level 3: for students entering 4th, 5th, and 6th grades
- CAT Level 4: for students entering 7th, 8th, and 9th grades
- CAT Level 5: for students entering 10th, 11th, and 12th grades
Does Christian Liberty offer an un-timed version of the California Achievement Test?
No. We only offer timed versions of the California Achievement Test. The 1970 edition of the test was originally designed to be a timed exam. The grading standards that were developed for the test include a measurement of how many questions a student is able to answer correctly in a particular amount of time. If more time is given than what has been allotted, or if the student is not timed at all, then the evaluation will be faulty—usually resulting in a higher score.
If these inflated scores are used to determine a student's curriculum, then the material selected will likely be above the student's "true" skill level, thereby placing unnecessary academic and emotional burdens on the child.
Finally, un-timed tests are often not accepted by school or state organizations that require test scores or proof of testing.
We often receive this question when a parent or administrator is concerned that the student will become too stressed to complete the timed exams. This can often be remedied by explaining the purpose of the test; that the test is simply used to see what a student is capable of, or what they have "achieved" in school.
Are the CAT or TestPoint tests appropriate for children or students with special needs?
The CAT and TestPoint tests were not designed for special needs children or students. We recommend contacting local homeschool organizers or representatives to see what they may suggest for your student in place of the tests that we offer.
How do I know what grade to select for my student's test?
When choosing a test, you should select the student's next entering grade. For example, if your student just finished the 4th grade, then you should select the Entering 5th Grade test.
Students re-enrolling in the CLASS homeschool program (grades 2 and up) will receive a CAT along with their course materials. The student should take this test before beginning their new school year.
What if I already started my school year and find that I need to test my student?
If you have just started your new school year and find you need to test your student, then the current grade level test may be appropriate. Note, however, that the more time your student spends in the current grade level, the less accurate the test scores will be. Therefore, we recommend you first contact those requiring the testing before purchasing.
Is there a time limit or certain date by which the test needs to be completed?
Christian Liberty has no true "deadline" by which any of the testing needs to be completed. However, there is a 1-year expiration date (from the date of purchase) associated with both the paper and online California Achievement Test.
If you are using the test to fulfill state or local school requirements, then you should check with them to see if a deadline exists.
Note that the expiration date is separate from the return policies associated with the testing services. Paper and online CATs each have their own return policy guidelines.
How do I know if I should administer the California Achievement Test (paper or online version) or the TestPoint Placement Test? What is the difference between them?
Achievement testing is used to determine the general skill or knowledge level attained by a student. Its purpose is to evaluate what a student has learned over a period of time, and can indicate whether the student knows "more" or "less" than others within his or her peer group (students at their grade level). The focus of this test is on the student's ability.
Placement testing is used to help find out whether a student has sufficient knowledge to enter a particular grade level; if the scores are below grade level, then they can also help in the selection of appropriate, remedial materials. The focus of this test is on the grade level's requirements.
With the exception of the earliest grade levels (where no benchmark exists for determining whether the student is academically ready for the intended grade), we usually recommend the California Achievement Test. Its scores indicate where the student is below and above grade level, and the test is nationally recognized (TestPoint is not).
Is my student required to complete the entire CAT test in one sitting?
Your student does not have to complete the entire test at once. As the test is only timed per section, they may take breaks between each section. So long as the timing is kept to for each individual test section, you may take as much time as you need between sections.
How long does it take to complete either the CAT or TestPoint Placement Test?
It can vary depending on the grade level of the student, but the test can take between two to three hours to complete (not including time allowed for breaks).
Can I see what questions my students got right or wrong on the CAT practice test, CAT, or TestPoint test to better see how to improve their knowledge in low-scoring areas? Or, can I look through the test before administering it to review the material that will be present on the test so that they score well?
The California Achievement and TestPoint Placement tests are designed to evaluate a student on basic and fundamental concepts derived from the subjects covered. Therefore, there is no practical way to study for the test and no access is given to the questions or answers after test completion.
In addition, you should not look through testing materials in order to prepare your student for the test. Part of the testing process is to determine what the student knows "on the spot" without having time to think of the correct answer. Seeing the test questions beforehand negates the time limit imposed by the test designers. The test was developed in such a way that a student's previous school year would be adequate test preparation.
How long will test scores be kept on record?
Test scores will remain on record indefinitely. We have record of every paper-based CAT test we have graded, and they are available on request. The scores for the online CAT and TestPoint tests will remain on record with the TestPoint (our online testing host) website. If you need to access online test scores and no longer have the access information, please contact us and we can provide that information again.
Who has access to my student's testing scores?
Any testing related reports are kept between the purchaser of the tests and the representatives of our customer service team that handle the testing databases. These reports are not provided to school or state organizations without written permission from the purchaser of the test. If you require Christian Liberty to send grade reports directly to a recipient other than the purchaser of the test, please contact our Customer Service department.
If I decide to enroll my student in the Christian Liberty Academy School System (CLASS) after they complete the CAT or TestPoint Placement Test, do my students need to retake the test for their enrollment process?
If you decide to enroll your student with CLASS within six months after receiving the test scores, the cost of the test will be deducted from the CLASS tuition fee. However, if you enroll your student in a grade level that does not match the grade level of the completed test, then the cost of the test will not be deducted from the tuition fee.