Homeschool FAQ

If you can't find answers to your question on this page, please send it to us in the Contact form.

General

I am a homeschool parent. Am I required to test my child?

Minnesota state law requires that all non-accredited schools, including homeschools must have their students complete a nationally norm-referenced standardized test. Examples of tests approved by the Minnesota Department of Education include the Iowa Assessments and Stanford Achievement Test offered by MSTP.

Is there a state-mandated test for homeschools?

No, there is not a single mandated test for Minnesota. However, the test must be a nationally norm-referenced, standardized test of academic achievement. Examples of tests approved by the Minnesota Department of Education include the Iowa Assessments and Stanford Achievement Test, both offered by MSTP.

You may see resources listing the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED). These are older versions that are now retired; they have been replaced with the Iowa Assessments.

I do not currently live in Minnesota. Can I still order tests from MSTP?

Yes! MSTP can provide the Iowa Assessments or CogAT for your homeschool student regardless of location. (Note: we are not able to provide the Stanford Achievement Test outside of Minnesota.)

What other tests do you offer for homeschools?

In addition to achievement tests, MSTP offers a learning ability/learning style test (CogAT) and a career interest inventory (IDEAS).

Ordering

How do I order tests? Will I receive an invoice?

The ordering process will depend on what test you order, and how you choose to pay. You will pay when you place your order, so there will not be an invoice.

Please note: for credit card orders, you will be redirected to a secure University payment portal. If ordering by check you will need to fill out a PDF order form.

What forms of payment do you accept?

If you are purchasing paper tests, we accept credit card, check, or money order. For online testing, credit card payment is required.

Do you carry practice tests?

Practice tests are not available.

Is it possible to test students at levels other than their current grade?

Achievement tests can be administered outside of grade level.

  • Online (Iowa Assessments): please contact MSTP before registering for testing

  • Paper (Iowa Assessments and Stanford Achievement Test): Make sure you indicate that the student was tested out of level when returning the tests for scoring

CogAT is not administered out of level, as it is age-based.

Ordering - Online Tests

Is there a deadline to register for online testing?

Registration closes one week before the first testing date. If you would like to register after that time, please contact MSTP (612-626-1803 or mstp@umn.edu) and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Are there additional forms to fill out after I register? When do I need to complete the Parent/Guardian Agreement?

You must complete the Parent/Guardian Agreement for each child prior to the test event. You will be prompted to do so during the registration checkout process. A link to the Parent/Guardian Agreement will also be included in the Group Receipt emailed to you after registration.

After I register, when will I receive a link for testing?

A link to the Zoom meeting will be sent a week before the first scheduled day of testing, and again the day before the test. The same Zoom link will be used for the second day of testing.

I did not receive a confirmation email or Zoom link. What should I do?

Please check your Spam or Junk email folder for messages from donotreply@umn.edu and mstp@umn.edu. If the messages are there, please add these emails to your "Safe Senders" list. If you cannot find the messages, please contact us - mstp@umn.edu or 612-626-1803

Can I reschedule my student's test session?

Yes. You must contact our office (mstp@umn.edu or 612-626-1803) to reschedule your registration. Please provide as much notice as possible.

What if I need to drop or cancel a test session after registering?

Registrations can be cancelled free of charge up to 7 days prior to the first day of testing. After that time, registrations will incur a $10 administrative fee.

Ordering - Paper Tests

How far in advance should I place my order?

Please allow three weeks for your order to be processed and tests shipped.

When can I expect my order to arrive?

MSTP mails testing materials approximately two weeks prior to your testing date.

Can I make copies of the answer sheets if I need to?

No. Our scanning equipment cannot process photocopied answer sheets. Please contact MSTP customer service at mstp@umn.edu or 612-626-1803 for additional answer sheets.

Test Administration and Proctoring

When can my student(s) test?

Testing can occur at any time, but norming will be based on the dates when tests are completed. Please see Recommended Testing Dates for details

Where can tests be administered?

Tests should be completed in a comfortable testing space that includes a desk or table for the student. The testing space should be free of educational materials (or with educational materials covered). Distractions should be minimized (e.g., TV, music, ringing telephone).

Can I administer the test myself, or do I need someone else to proctor?

  • Stanford: You are permitted to administer the test as your student's parent/guardian

  • Iowa (paper): You will need to find your own proctor

  • Iowa (online): MSTP provides proctoring via Zoom

  • CogAT (online): MSTP provides proctoring via Zoom

Are there forms to fill out to qualify as a proctor?

  • Stanford: No additional paperwork is required for you to proctor your child’s assessment

  • Iowa (paper): The proctor is asked to sign a document regarding their qualifications. This is provided with the testing materials, and must be returned when tests are mailed back to MSTP for scoring

  • Iowa (online) or CogAT: MSTP provides proctoring. However, prior to testing, you must complete the Parent/Guardian Agreement consenting to each student's participation in remote testing, and agreeing to abide by test security practices

How long do the various tests take to administer?

Iowa Form E

  • Kindergarten: 2:40

  • Grades 1-2: 4:10

  • Grades 3-8: 4:55

  • Grades 9-12: 3:55

Stanford Achievement Test

  • Kindergarten: 2:50

  • Grades 1-8: 5:30

  • Grades 9-12: 3:50

Do all the test sections need to be administered on the same day?

No, your student does not need to complete all the test sections on the same day. For online tests, MSTP administers the Iowa across two days, with a one-day break in between (typically Tuesday and Thursday). CogAT is shorter, and is administered on a single day. For paper tests, you are welcome to divide up testing in the way that works best for you and your student.

What is online/virtual proctoring?

For online Iowa Assessments and online CogAT, students will join an online meeting set up in Zoom. MSTP test proctors will use Zoom to supervise their online testing session. There will be an introductory segment, then each student will be given instructions for logging into the testing platform. During testing, the proctor will check on the students, and students will be able to contact the proctor to ask questions at any time during the testing session. Additional information will be provided prior to testing.

What forms do I need to fill out before our scheduled (online) test event?

The Parent/Guardian Agreement must be completed before your scheduled testing date. This is required for every registrant.

What are the technical requirements for online tests?

The online Iowa and online CogAT require a PC running Windows 8 or Windows 10 with Edge or Chrome Browser, or a Mac with Safari. Tablets (iPads, ChromeBooks, etc.) and phones are not supported. We also strongly recommend that other devices or members of the household should refrain from using high-bandwidth activities during testing. Examples include streaming videos, video conferencing (except for the Zoom testing session with MSTP), and online gaming. Additional technical requirements are available in our Technical Readiness guide, which you will receive upon registering for online assessments.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for testing my child?

Yes, there are a number of steps to reduce any potential difficulties during testing. This includes a comfortable testing space that is free of distractions (as much as possible), and if the test is online, a power source for the testing computer to be plugged into, and checking that your student's computer has a working microphone and camera. Additional information is provided with paper testing materials, or in the remote testing checklist that you will receive upon registering for online assessments.

Reports

What reports are available?

Iowa: List of Student Scores, Profile Narrative, and Individual Performance Profile

Stanford: List of Student Scores, Performance Profile, and Profile Narrative

CogAT: List of Student Scores, Profile Narrative, and Profile Interpretation Report

IDEAS: self-scored

When testing is complete, how long does it take for reports to be sent?

  • Online (Iowa Assessments and CogAT): Reports are emailed within 1 week of test completion

  • Paper: Results will be sent by mail or email as requested on the order form, as described below

    • Iowa Assessments: Reports will be sent within 2 weeks from the date MSTP receives all of your testing materials

    • Stanford Achievement Test:

      • Through June 2022, reports will be sent within 2 weeks from the date MSTP receives all of your testing materials

      • Beginning July 1, 2022, due to a change in the publisher's test processing options, reports will be sent 4-5 weeks from the date MSTP receives all of your testing materials

Why do Stanford Achievement Test reports take so much longer?

MSTP prides itself on being able to score homeschool tests more quickly than other providers. However, in June 2022, the publisher of the Stanford Achievement Test will retire the scoring system MSTP uses to process tests. After that time, MSTP will need to send tests to the publisher for scoring, and wait for the publisher to return results to MSTP, before we can distribute them to homeschools.

How will I get my reports?

  • Online (Iowa Assessments): Reports are sent by email

  • Paper (Iowa Assessments and Stanford Achievement Test): Reports are sent by mail or email as requested on the order form

I'm not sure what certain abbreviations and terms mean. Where can I find out more?

Please see the glossary for a list of terms and their meanings.