Why Use the PASS® Test?

The PASS® test is a non-timed, standardized test designed for students grades three through eight. It was specifically developed for homeschooling parents to administer to their students. The test measures student achievement in reading, mathematics, and language (which includes spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation, composition, and study skills at appropriate levels).

Have questions about the PASS® test? Look here first for the answers. If you don’t find an answer to your PASS® test question, email or call us at (800) 348-1750.

Ordering Information

For each student you wish to test, we must have his or her name and the grade you want the student compared with as well as the parent(s)’ name(s), address, telephone number, email address, and the date you wish Hewitt to ship (allow 7 to 10 business days for it to reach you). Full payment is required with each order and is nonrefundable once it is printed. Orders with credit card numbers may be ordered online, faxed, emailed, or phoned to us.

Price Per Test: Includes Shipping in U.S. and Territories
1: $37.00 each
2–9: $34.00 each
10–19: $29.00 each
20+: $25.00 each

Twice-yearly testing provides the most accurate measure of achievement. Though our normal testing schedule is October and April, PASS® tests can be ordered at any time during the year, but they must be at least six months apart. Many parents only test yearly, but if you are new to homeschooling or are uncertain as to your student’s abilities, it’s best to test at both the beginning and end of year.

We request that once you receive the testing materials, you administer the test and return it within four weeks. Once the test has been returned to us, we will score it and send you a detailed analysis of the student’s performance within two to four weeks.

What does the testing fee cover?

The fee includes the cost of sending you the test, scoring it, and mailing one copy of the results to you. The PASS® test is a service and is non-taxable.

Why do you require payment before the test is issued?

Accounting and testing are two separate departments. Orders for the PASS® are processed on the date they are received, regardless of the date you request the test/s be sent. It is impossible to generate invoices based on test-ship dates.

Why are PASS® tests nonrefundable once they are shipped?

Most of Hewitt’s service has been accomplished by the time the test is shipped, since the Scantron (answer sheet) is customized. The only service that remains to be done is the scanning.

Why do I have to give a grade when I order?

The test requires it. Choose the grade you want your child to be compared with.

Can I order more than one grade for one student?

No, we can only compare the student with one grade. However, since the levels in the books are not tied to specific grades, you can choose a level for each subject appropriate to your student’s abilities.

What can I expect to receive?

For families with students new to the PASS® test, we send a set of books (reading, math, language, and instructions with placements tests) with everything needed to administer the test. For students who have used the test within the last year, we can look in our database and send the actual levels he or she needs instead of the books.

Why do you send one set of books per family, rather than per student?

This helps us to keep the cost of testing down. The same books are used for all grades except math [math is split into two books: Lower Math (Grades 3-5) and Upper Math (Grades 6-8)]. While one student is using the reading book, another can be taking math, and another taking language. Then they can trade books for the next round of testing.

Can I order a test for a student who is not my child?

You can if you are the legal guardian. If you are not the guardian, we will need the child’s parents’ information and where you want the test sent.

Do I need to know subject levels to order?

No. Even for those who were tested within the last year, you only need to know this year’s grade. We will figure out the levels for each subject from our database.

What if I have one student who tested previously and another who is new?

We will let you know levels for the one who’s tested previously, but send the books which they both can use.

When should I expect to receive testing materials after ordering?

Please allow up to seven to ten business days for the test to arrive at your home.

How long do I have to administer the test?

We ask that you return the answer sheet and Disposal Form within four weeks after you receive it.

Am I supposed to keep the test booklets until the next test administration?

No. All testing materials (electronic and physical) are to be disposed of, except the scan sheet and Disposal Form (which should be returned to Hewitt). The only exception is for those living overseas who want to use the test again.

Group Testing

Two or more families may order together to make a “Group” order. The person ordering becomes the group leader and is responsible for getting the tests to each family in the group, returning the answer sheets and Disposal Forms together to Hewitt, and getting test scores to each family once he or she receives them from Hewitt. See our Group Order Form for more information.

Large group orders take longer to process, so please order early. Please do not phone them in: You may fax, email, or mail the ordering information, with the students grouped by families. The following applies to all groups even as few as two students (from different families):

  • Group tests are shipped with books (not levels).
  • We need a physical street address for shipping not a post office box.
  • The tests are sent to one address, paid for with one check or credit card, and returned to us together.
  • A group test returned separately to Hewitt for grading must include a $10.00 fee.
  • Test results are sent to the group leader.
  • We need parents’ names, and addresses, and student names plus grades, for each child.

Why do you need parents’ names for all students in the group?

Students’ scores are associated with the parent/s in case the family orders tests separately from the group at a later date.

How much time should we allow between ordering and actually receiving the PASS® test as a group?

Please allow up to two weeks as most group orders are shipped via UPS. Depending upon the size of the group, data entry may take longer also.

What if someone in the group decides not to use the test?

He or she should return the answer sheet to the group leader marked “cancel,” along with the signed Disposal Form (PASS® tests are nonrefundable once they are printed).

What if someone in the group doesn’t get their test back to the group in a timely manner?

Return the ones you have with a note letting us know which tests are missing. For a $10.00 fee per test, parents who did not return their tests with their group can return the tests on their own and have them scored as individual tests.

Will the group leader be able to see all of the test scores?

Though there is a cover sheet over each family’s tests, they are not packaged in separate envelopes.

Testing Procedures

What do I do when I receive the testing material?

If your are a first-time PASS® test user or you did not use the PASS® last year so you need to give the Placement Test again:

  1. Read and follow the instructions in the Instructions and Placement Tests book.
  2. Give the Placement Test for the grade ordered (the student can write on the test itself or use the sample answer sheet in the instructions book.
  3. Grade the Placement Test (answers are in the middle of the instructions book).
  4. Use the guidelines in the instructions book for deciding the correct levels.
  5. Prepare the Scantron answer sheet.
  6. Give the test.
  7. Follow instructions for returning the test to Hewitt.

If you tested the student last year using the PASS® test:

  1. Prepare the Scantron answer sheet.
  2. Give the test.
  3. Follow instructions for returning the test to Hewitt.

Must the test be given by a certified teacher?

The parent or any responsible person may administer the PASS®. Some states may refuse to accept a test not given by a certified teacher. Check for local requirements.

When should I give the PASS® test?

Many people test in both October and April; however, we send tests any time during the year as long as six months have passed since previous testing.

Can I give the PASS® to my first- and second-grade children?

No. The PASS® is designed to test students in Grades three through eight. Your child must be at a beginning third-grade level and able to read and answer questions independently.

Can we give the test to a different student than the one named on the scan sheet?

No. Call our office if the test is made out to the wrong student.

What do we do about wrong information such as misspelled names on the scan sheet?

Cross out the wrong information and write the correction in the same area on the scan sheet.

Is it permissible to read the test to the student?

No. The student must be able to read the test and answer the questions independently unless he or she has been diagnosed as a special-needs student.

Can the PASS® be used by special-needs students?

Yes, but you must send a letter from a professional who has officially diagnosed the special-needs problem when you send in the scan sheet and Disposal Form.

Can we give part of the test one day and part the next?

Yes. Break up the test as needed. We recommend that you spread out testing over several days, completing one subject of the test each day until all three areas are finished. Be sure the student knows the directions and where to place the answers for the subject being given that day.

How much time should I allow to administer the test?

Allow 45 minutes to an hour for each subject: Reading, Mathematics, Language. However, your student may take more or less time.

Do the test levels in the books represent grades?

No. The levels in the books are not tied to specific grades, though the levels do get progressively more difficult.

Is it the number right or the number wrong on the Placement Test that determines the level?

The chart uses the number correct on the placement test to determine the recommended test level.

Do I have to give the level indicated by the placement test?

No. Generally the placement test does a wonderful job of locating the proper testing level. You want a level on which the student knows 50 to 90 percent of the material. The placement test is a tool to help you begin looking for that level.

What if the student got all the questions on the placement test correct?

Look at the test level indicated along with those above it and decide which is appropriate for your child. The goal is still for the student to get between 50% and 90% correct at any level.

Where do I find levels on previous testing?

These appear on the test results (see sample results) under names and addresses along with other statistics: Test ID, Date Taken, Grade, Test Level, etc.

Can a student take the same level as last year?

If your student had less than 30% correct on the last test, you may give the same level.

This is the first time I’ve tested a Grade 3 student. Should I skip the placement test and just give the first levels of each subject?

Only if you can determine your student knows 50% to 90% of those beginning levels. The placement test is only a tool to help you locate the best levels, but it is remarkably accurate.

Can I improve percentiles by giving an easier level to my student?

You cannot second guess percentiles; if you try it will usually be a great plan for disappointment. Think of the extreme example of a Grade 8 student taking level 1 in reading: The percentiles will be very low since the scoring program takes into consideration that most eighth graders should know everything at that level, in fact the student will probably have a 0% even though they had 100% correct.

My student becomes frustrated if he misses even one item on a test. Should I give a lower level?

Standardized achievement tests by nature need to be considerably more difficult than students’ abilities so that they don’t “max-out.” Assure your son or daughter that he or she should miss anywhere between 10% to 50% of the questions if the level is truly appropriate. If your child were to get 100% on a certain level, it would be impossible to gauge what your student doesn’t know.

Can we change test levels after completing a test?

Yes, but it is better to change before you get that far.

What do we do for an answer sheet if we change levels?

Thoroughly erase the answers on the one you have. To ensure accurate scoring, be sure all of the pencil lead is erased though a light shadow may still show. (The scanner may read a poorly-erased answer as having multiple marks.) Check that you have written in the number of the correct level on the Scantron answer sheet.

The Test Scores

What can I expect to find in the test results?

The scores will show your student’s achievement by indicating a national percentile (comparing students to public-schooled students) and also a homeschool percentile comparison. There will be a “Raw” score which indicates how many your student got right out of the total possible. The “Percent-Right” scores will tell you if your student had difficulty with the level or found it too easy. For example, if a student got more than 90% correct the level was too easy. If the student got less than 50% correct, the level was too hard. The RIT score compares your student’s performance using a table which shows ending-grade RIT scores for other students who took the PASS®. For example, at the end of Grade 6, students are expected to have a RIT score of 227 or above in Math. The report also includes general suggestions to help your student improve.

Is it permissible to show the test results to the student?

Yes. The purpose of the test is to aid in the learning process by indicating achievement. Both students and parents can benefit by being aware of areas needing special attention. But you also need to consider your student’s personality, and how the scores may affect him or her.

What do the percentile scores actually mean for my child?

The percentile score compares your student to other students across the nation. If you took 100 students at the same grade level, at the same time of the year, and gave them the same PASS® test, your child would probably score higher than some of the students and lower than others. For example, a child at the 60th percentile scored as well as or better than 60% of all the children who took the test. The national average on a percentile score is always 50.

I’m used to percentiles and grade equivalents. Can I get this information from the PASS® report?

Yes. Results include percentiles for both public school students and homeschooling students. Your report also provides a RIT score along with atable for determining grade equivalents. The table shows the RIT score a student should have at the end of each grade for each subject.

What is a RIT score?

The RIT is a scale for measuring learning. Your child’s RIT score indicates his or her position on that learning scale. It can be used to compare one student with another (if desired) and the same student from one year to the next, regardless of the test levels taken. It is similar to the way a child’s height and weight are compared to the averages for that age.

How high do RIT scores go?

For reading, 278; for mathematics, 299; for language, 281.

What is a goal?

A goal is a group or category of related learning objectives for a subject.

What does goal performance mean?

Goal performance refers to how well a student did in answering specific questions relating to one particular goal; e.g., multiplication.

What does high, average, or low mean for goal performance?

These terms describe your child’s performance compared to the average performance of all other students of the same grade level. Questions are weighted in accordance to their importance in the mastery of a specific subject. Thus scoring high on one goal may not affect the student’s achievement level on that subject as much as scoring high on another goal.

My child showed average performance in decimals, currency, and percents. The suggestion on the report is that “The child will progress satisfactorily as more advanced topics are covered.” What should I do? What can I do to bring the performance up to high?

Continue to provide varied learning opportunities. Incorporate meaningful real-life situations in practicing the skills measured by this goal. Be certain the student has mastered each goal for all previous grade levels.

What is “numeration?” What are “other number systems?”

Numeration is counting and using systems of numbering. Numeration includes understanding place values and writing numbers for words and words for numbers. Different number systems are based on different bases (base 10 or base 2, etc.) or different symbols (e.g., Roman numerals) or different sets of numbers (whole numbers, integers, rational numbers, real numbers, etc.). Questions about properties of number systems (e.g., associative property of addition, etc.) are included in tests of numeration.

What are number series?

Number series are groups of numbers that follow a predictable sequence or pattern. The following examples demonstrate the concept of number series: Complete these series of numbers: 2, 4, 6, 8, ___, ___, ___; 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, ___, ___.

The report indicates my child needs help in computation skills. How do I know which areas need developing?

Quiz the student on computation skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) and areas needing improvement will become apparent. Math-It is an excellent tool for improving understanding and memorization in these areas.

Content and Quality of the PASS® Test

The PASS® Test is an approved test for the purpose of state reporting in Alaska, Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Washington. Some states vary from district to district such as New York, Minnesota, and Colorado. Check with your school district if you are uncertain. Many states have no specific testing requirements. The PASS® was developed to help you—the parent—know how your child was doing, and that continues to be its primary importance.

Who developed the questions?

The questions were written by teachers from the Northwest and were obtained from an item bank of the Northwest Evaluation Association.

How do these tests compare, in content, with other standardized tests?

The PASS® is comparable to other achievement tests that are available, since the majority of questions were taken from an item bank which had been used for more than 12 years by a large northwestern city. Many states require achievement testing only for the basic skills: reading, language, and math. The PASS® assesses these same basic skills.

The test is shorter and yet there is a higher proportion of questions which actually are in the range to accurately test the student because of the system of using a placement test.

Will the PASS® indicate what should be taught at each grade level for Grades 3 through 8?

No, the test was designed to track a student’s progress. A better tool for learning the concepts you need to teach is Hewitt’s Learning Objectives for Grades K–8 . All lists have been compared with recognized standards, and include not only skills tested on standardized achievement tests, but also history/geography, science, and art/music.

Is the PASS® a standardized test?

Yes. The construction, format, and content all follow standard procedures.

What percentiles are used?

Children’s scores are compared with both national and homeschooling populations. This does not mean the test is “nationally normed,” but that the scores are equated to those of public-school students taking one of the nationally-normed tests.

Are there times when the test will prove to be unreliable?

Yes, such as if the student tests at an inappropriate level, is not rested, or places marks incorrectly. Experience has shown that a raw score of 50% to 90% correct provides the most accurate measurement of the student’s achievement.

Do you have any statistical information that would show that the PASS® is comparable to nationally recognized standardized tests?

Yes. We will be happy to provide you with this information.

Do you have anything I can take to my school superintendent to have the PASS® scores approved?

An information packet is available from our office for this purpose.


Office Hours
Monday through Thursday
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PST / PDT

Contact Us
FAX: 360-835-8697
Phone: 800-348-1750  /  360-835-8708
Email: sales@hewitthomeschooling.com

Office Location
3140 Evergreen Way
Washougal, WA 98671

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Hewitt Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Not-for-profit Corporation
"PASS" is a registered trademark of Hewitt Research Foundation