This post is part of a series titled, “Homeschool Q&A.” The series features questions we’ve received from parents on a variety of topics–and the answers!
Q. If I’m part of a distance-learning program, do I need to submit an achievement test?
A. The law requires you to provide some form of assessment if you complied with the homeschool statute §22.1-254.1 and filed a Notice of Intent form or wrote a letter. Regardless of the option you choose on the NOI or the type of curriculum you use, you must provide the results of an assessment by August 1 each year. It can be the results of a standardized achievement test or an independent evaluation.
If you use a standardized achievement test, you may choose the test and the tester. The student’s score must be at the 23rd percentile or higher in order to continue to homeschool.
If you choose an independent evaluation instead of an achievement test, you have two options. First, you may choose an evaluator who is a certified teacher in any state, or you may choose a person with a master’s degree or higher in an academic discipline to evaluate your child’s work. The evaluator should write a letter indicating the progress that has been made.
Second, you may submit a copy of a report card or transcript from a homeschool correspondence school, or, if your child is dual-enrolled, from a community college, college, or college distance learning program. If you are using a distance-learning program that provides a report card or transcript, you could use this option in lieu of an achievement test.
Having said this, there are four exceptions to the testing or evaluation requirements. Testing is not required for the following students:
- children under the age of six on September 30 at the beginning of the school year;
- students who are under the religious-exemption provision §22.1-254(B)(1);
- students being taught by a certified tutor in compliance with §22.1-254 (A); or
- students who have graduated, regardless of age.
As you can see, you have several options, but you must submit some form of evaluation by August 1 unless your child meets one of the exceptions. You can find additional testing information HEAV’s Homeschool Testing FAQ.