Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of the Testing Process
For paper tests, you order the standardized test and Seton ships it to you with directions. You administer the test to your student and then return all the test materials to Seton. Seton scores the test, uploads the results to your online account, and notifies you. Here is the link for the Testing Step-by-Step process.
What do you mean by “Norms”?
Norm-referenced tests report how test takers compare to a standard sample group of students of the same age or grade level, who have already taken the exam during a particular time period of the school year: Fall Norms (beginning of the school year), Midyear Norms, or Spring Norms (end of the school year).
How do I determine which grade level of the test to get my student given the norm period?
Generally speaking, if you are testing during Fall Norms (September 1 – November 30), you would get the test for the grade level your student is beginning. During Midyear Norms (December 1 – Last day of February), get the test for the grade the student is in. During Spring Norms (March 1 – August 31), get the test for the grade the student is finishing or has completed.
By when do test answer sheets need to be returned in order to be scored according to a particular norm period?
To be scored according to the standard that was set by a particular norm period, test answer sheets need to be returned to our facility postmarked no later than the last day of that norm period. So if you want a test scored according to Fall Norms, it must be postmarked no later than November 30. If you want a test scored according to Midyear Norms, the postmark must be no later than the last day of February. If you want a test scored according to end-of-the-year Spring Norms, it must be postmarked no later than August 31.
What if I want the test scored according to a different norm period other than the current one?
When you return the test materials, just include a check made out to Seton Testing Services for $15 per test for off-norm scoring and indicate the norm period (Fall, Midyear, or Spring) for which you want the test scored.
For example: Let’s say it is the Fall Norms period and your student is beginning 7th grade, but you still want to test for end-of-the-year Spring Norms for 6th grade. Order and administer the 6th grade level test as usual, but when you return the test materials, just include a check for $15 and ask that the test be scored according to Spring Norms. That way the test will be scored according to end-of-the-year Spring Norms for 6th grade instead of beginning-of-the-year Fall Norms for 6th grade.
Please Note: Off-norm scoring is NOT available for the Stanford Online.
Can your tests be used by homeschoolers or only private schools?
All of our tests can be used by BOTH home schools and private schools. The TerraNova/CAT 6 can also be used by public schools.
Do I have to be enrolled with Seton Home Study School to use the Seton Testing Services?
How can I determine my state’s testing requirements?
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA.org) is a great resource. Click on your state and then go to the Legal Analysis for your state, and view the testing requirements. Another great resource is your state homeschool organization.
How do I obtain an IOWA, CAT, TerraNova/CAT 6, or Stanford Online Test?
Seton Testing Services is open from 9am – 5pm Monday through Friday. Orders may be placed on the phone with a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover) by calling 540-636-1250 or toll-free at 800-542-1066. You can also fax your orders to 888-282-7806. We recommend purchasing your tests online from the IOWA product page, the CAT product page, the TerraNova/CAT 6 product page, or the Stanford Online product page.
For the IOWA, TerraNova, and Stanford tests Seton requires you to create a user account. You must also read and sign a Test Agreement Form BEFORE materials may be shipped or emailed.
Do you have a secure online order form?
Seton Testing uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption when transmitting certain kinds of information, such as financial services information or payment information. An icon resembling a padlock is displayed on the bottom and top of most browser windows during SSL transactions that involve credit cards and other forms of payment. Any time Seton Testing asks for a credit card number during checkout for payment, it will be SSL encrypted. The information you provide will be stored securely on our servers.
What is covered in the list price of the test?
The price covers the cost of the student test booklets, test administration directions, answer sheets, basic shipping to you, scoring, and posting the test results.
Do you offer any discounts?
Yes, we offer group discounts. Please view our discount policies.
Are there sample tests that I can give to my child prior to the actual test?
Yes, we do carry test preparation materials. There are practice tests, helpful test-taking hints, and an answer key. Visit our test preparation products page.
When should I order my test?
We ask that you order your test at least 3 weeks before your desired test date. If you order a paper test, we will mail you the test materials 2 weeks before your scheduled test week. School or large group orders must be placed 6 to 8 weeks before the test date.
What if I want to test sooner than three weeks from now?
During check-out you will have to choose a test date at least 3 weeks from now, but in the comments box on the last page of check-out at the bottom say “Send Immediately” or indicate the dates you actually want to test, and then we can make the change on our end once your order is submitted.
Do you offer expedited Shipping Services?
Yes. In the comments box on the last page of check-out at the bottom say, “Send Immediately” and ask for expedited shipping for $6.45. Then the materials will be sent via Priority Mail. If you want it sent by a faster method, indicate that in the comments box and contact us for the shipping method and cost.
May I give the test to my student as soon as I get the test materials?
Yes. You do not have to wait until your selected test week to give the test to your student.
Does Seton require the test materials back at any specific time?
Yes. The materials are rentals only. Due to legal considerations, all tests must be returned to us immediately after your testing week.
CAT test materials may be kept for 45 days from the beginning of the testing week selected or 45 days from the ship date if no testing week is selected. Customers who do not return all IOWA and TerraNova/CAT 6 materials within 21 days of the testing week will be charged $25 per test booklet and $30 for each test administration booklet. ALL testing materials (booklets and instructions) must be returned to us BEFORE your tests are graded.
Seton Testing reserves the right to charge additional fees for materials that are returned damaged (ripped, torn, stained, folded, creased, written in, etc.).
If an order error was made by Seton, we will gladly make the matter right by sending you the correct items. If you receive a product from us that is missing pages, printed improperly, or defective in any way, please notify us and we will send you a replacement at no cost.
Who pays for the cost of shipping the testing materials back to Seton?
You do. Please use a trackable and insurable shipping method.
How soon will I receive my IOWA, CAT, or TerraNova test results?
Usually you will receive your CAT results by mail within two weeks. Your IOWA, CAT, and TerraNova test scores are also available within two weeks online in your user account, if you created one. For your convenience we will fax or email your test results to you if you request that.
If you do not receive your test results within 14 business days, please contact us at your earliest convenience.
Do you offer expedited Scoring Services?
Yes. The IOWA, CAT, and TerraNova tests are scored within 2 weeks of their arrival to our offices, but if you need your test results faster, we do offer 24-hour expedited scoring for $25. When you return your test materials, include a note asking for expedited scoring and a check made out to Seton Testing Services for $25 per test. Once your test materials have been checked-in at our facility, we will score your test and post the results to your account within 24 hours. We can also fax or email the results to you at no additional fee.
Why did I receive one of my children’s results, but not the other’s?
Grading is done by the level of the test. Therefore, if two children are at different grade levels, you may receive the results at different times. If you have not received the results for all your children within one week of receiving one child’s results, please call or e-mail our office.
IOWA and TerraNova FAQ
ANNOUNCEMENT: In an effort to keep costs low, effective November 1, 2016, the IOWA and TerraNova/CAT6 tests will be 21-day rentals.
Are the IOWA and TerraNova/CAT 6 timed tests? How long does each test take to administer?
Yes, both tests are timed and take from one and one-half hours to five and one-half hours of actual working time for the students to complete, depending upon the grade level and the test taken. IOWA tests are not timed in Levels 5R-8. Level 7-8 on the IOWA are timed only in the Mathematics Computation section of the test. All levels of the TerraNova/CAT 6 are timed.
Each section for the IOWA is no longer than 30 minutes, and no section for the TerraNova/CAT 6 is longer than 40 minutes. No more than two or three tests should be given in one day. The tests should be spread out over a three or four day period.
What type of tests are the IOWA and the TerraNova/CAT 6?
The IOWA and the TerrraNova/Cat 6 are nationally normed achievement tests. Achievement tests measure skills that are learned in school and address specific content areas such as reading and mathematics and measure academic progress. Your child’s scores are compared to the scores of other children who have taken the test, the norming population for the test. There is no direct correlation between the number of correct answers and the percentiles reported. If, for example, a student scores at the fifty-seventh percentile, it indicates that a student scored higher than fifty-seven percent of students who took this test in the national sampling group for his grade level, not that the student got fifty-seven percent of the questions correct.
What is tested on the IOWA Test of Basic Skills (ITBS®), Grades K-8?
The IOWA tests students in the areas of Reading (Levels 6-14), Language (Levels 5R-14), Math (Levels 5R-14), Vocabulary (Levels 5R-14), Spelling (Levels 7-14), Word Analysis (Levels K5-9), Listening (Levels K5-9), Social Studies (Levels 9-14), Science (Levels 9-14) and Sources of Information (Levels 7-14). The Sources of Information test for Levels 7-8 measure students’ abilities to use information resources and to judge their usefulness. At Levels 7 and 8, a single Sources of Information test assesses students’ skills in alphabetizing and in using picture dictionaries, tables of contents, and maps. All questions are read aloud by the teacher. At Levels 9 through 14, there are two separate tests for Sources of Information: Maps and Diagrams and Reference Materials.
What is tested on the IOWA Test of Educational Development (ITED®), Grades 9-12?
The ITED is the IOWA test for high school students. It tests students in Grades 9-12 in the areas of Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Language (Revising Written Materials), Spelling, Mathematics (Concepts and Problem Solving and Math Computation), Analysis of Social Studies Materials, Analysis of Science Materials and Sources of Information. The Sources of Information test evaluates students’ abilities to use important information sources. The skills a student needs in order to find and use data efficiently include familiarity with the resources of a well-equipped media center.
What is tested on the TerraNova/CAT 6 with the Plus Test , Grades K-12?
The TerraNova, Second Edition, known as the CAT 6 is the 6th edition of the California Achievement Test. It tests K-12 students in the areas of Reading (Grades K-12), Language (Grades K-12), Math (Grades K-12), Social Studies (Grades 1-12) and Science (Grades 1-12). It is available in Complete Battery or Survey form. Also included is the Plus Test, which tests Word Analysis (Levels 11-21/22), Vocabulary (Levels 11-21/22), Language Mechanics (Levels 12-21/22), Spelling (Levels 12-21/22) and Math Computation (Levels 11-21/22).
What is the difference between the Complete Battery w/Plus and the Survey w/Plus edition of the TerraNova/CAT 6?
The Survey edition is a shortened form of the TerraNova/CAT 6 that is composed from a subset of items found in the Complete Battery. Administering the Survey form of the test takes about half as much time as the Complete Battery. Both the Survey and the Complete Battery measure the same content areas, but the Survey has fewer questions. The Survey is a shorter test and does not provide the breadth of coverage for each objective that is found in the Complete Battery. The Plus tests are the same for both forms of the test.
When should the Complete Battery w/Plus, and when should the Survey w/Plus edition of the TerraNova/CAT 6 be used?
The publisher suggests that you should use the Complete Battery when making high stakes decisions (such as acceptance into an academic program), when you have three or more hours to administer a test, or when the results of a test are likely to be challenged. Use the Survey if the testing time is short, if you are screening for a program entry or exit, or using this as a pre/post test model for which the Survey would be your post test. The Survey w/Plus is offered for grades 2, 3, 4, and 6-12. The Complete Battery w/Plus is offered for grades 1-12 and the Complete Battery is offered for grade K.
What is the “Plus”?
The Plus section is additional math, reading, and language questions that are all optional.
Do students have time to complete the IOWA and the TerraNova/CAT 6 in the allotted time?
The IOWA and the TerraNova/Cat 6 tests were designed so that almost all students have time to complete the test. Levels 5-8 of the IOWA test are untimed, except for the Math Computation Test in Levels 7-8. The percentage of students completing the final question in each section of each subtest varies by grade and format. Approximately 94-99% of students complete the tests in the time allotted. Please read and adhere to the testing directions for the timing of each test section.
CAT E/Survey FAQ
Is the CAT E/Survey timed? How long does the CAT take to administer?
Yes, the CAT is timed and takes approximately two to two and one-half hours to administer depending upon the grade level. There are five to six sections within each test booklet and each section usually has a time limit of 20 minutes. No more than two or three tests should be given in one day. The tests should be spread out over two or three days.
What subjects are tested on the CAT E/Survey?
The CAT tests the basics– Reading, Language Arts, and Mathematics– which meet the standard requirements.
What type of test is the CAT E/Survey?
The CAT Survey Form E is a nationally normed standardized test that is accepted in most states. The CAT offers testing for grades 4-12. Your child’s scores are compared to the scores of other children who have taken the test. There is no direct correlation between the number of correct answers and the percentiles reported. For example, the fifty-seventh percentile indicates that a student scored better than fifty-seven percent of students who took this test at this grade level, not that the student got fifty-seven percent of the questions correct.