Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

End-of-Year Assessments and How They Help Plan the Future


This assessment is more relevant to homeschooling objectives, takes less time than you imagine, and is very helpful in planning the new year.

Spring is here, and summer is coming up quickly. With that come thoughts of loose schedules and some time to relax. Before you don those swimsuits and dive into the pool, may I suggest that you spend some time reviewing the year and assessing some key indicators?

Nine states require year-end assessment: Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia (check with your local school district or HSLDA.org for specific information), but I suggest a more personal and specific assessment for each child.

If your district requires standardized tests, please call the Seton Testing Department and get the best information about which test will best suit your child and the circumstances. You can also check out the website at www.setontesting.com for information.

My real student assessment is the one I conduct by simply going back through my lesson planner and comparing it to:

  1. The actual work done.
  2. The grades that Seton sent.
  3. The improvements or lack thereof of my student.

This assessment is more relevant to homeschooling objectives and takes less time than you imagine. I find it so helpful in planning the new year.

Some subjects, such as math, are very easy to review. There are finite answers, and you can quickly tell by the grades on tests whether your student has mastered the concepts and is ready to move on. Other subjects are more nuanced in assessing.

For example, if a student struggles in Earth Science, does that necessarily mean he will struggle in Biology? No, but it does merit the consideration of getting extra help or slowing the pace so that each concept can be mastered.

Here’s Your Focus

Diving into why they struggled is the key. These are items to focus on:

  • Was it a matter of too much material being studied at once?
  • Were the concepts hard to understand?
  • Was not enough time spent on the material?

Your child might also need extra encouragement for assurance that he or she is not “bad in science” but had one of those tough years that crop up in every student’s life.

Here’s Your Answer

My process for this time is to clear an afternoon after all the work has been submitted and take stock of how well each child did in each subject. Review how much time we spent on it and how frequently I scheduled
the subject.

For example, in the younger years, we do history twice a week and science three times. Did those schedules work or do they need to be tweaked?
As students advance, their workload becomes more challenging and it is unrealistic for them to be done by lunchtime. Scheduling longer periods to complete each subject might solve a lot of problems.

I will also consider if we took advantage of all Seton has to offer when it comes to extra help. There are study guides and chapter notes on our MySeton page, and I need to ensure the child has access to all that. Very often we don’t utilize all that is offered. Dig in and find out why.

Meeting with the Principal

I make a few notes in my planning notebook and then schedule a meeting with my husband, the principal. Usually, it’s over dinner somewhere outside of the house. I’ll review our strengths and weaknesses over the past year and ask for his advice or concerns.


His insights are extremely helpful, and it is at these “meetings” that we can also solve any household issues, such as bumping up chores for some of the kids, outside activities, schedules, and things like that. These meetings are the backbone of our homeschool, and I strongly encourage you to schedule them regularly.

Once you have reviewed all of the successes and bumps in the road, you can plan the coming academic year with more peace of mind, knowing you are fully aware of where your weaknesses lie. You can adjust your course rather than flounder against the tide.

As always, the Seton counselors stand ready to help you in planning your next year. Your success is their primary concern.

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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