Using PSAT Scores Instead of Standardized Achievement Test Scores

Posted on Apr 13 2011 in Homeschool Q&A by Yvonne Bunn

Q. Can I submit my high school student’s PSAT score instead of a standardized achievement test score?

A. Although I am aware of a few superintendents who have accepted PSAT or SAT scores during the high school years, these tests are not considered standardized achievement tests as described in §22.1-254.1 (C).

Standardized achievement tests such as the CAT, Iowa, Stanford, etc., are tests that measure your student’s progress compared to that of other students at the same level who take the same test across the nation. The Virginia homeschool law requires parents who file a Notice of Intent to submit either the results of a standardized achievement test or the results of an independent evaluation by August 1 each year. The student’s achievement test composite score (language arts and mathematics only) must be at or above 23 percentile in order for a parent to continue to homeschool.

The PSAT and the SAT are not the same type of tests. The score is not given as a percentile, and there is not a composite score measuring math and language arts together. Both the PSAT and SAT are optional tests. They are usually taken by students who plan to attend college.

The PSAT provides firsthand practice for the SAT and gives students the chance to qualify for National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs. The PSAT can be taken more than once, but the qualifying test is taken and the scores are submitted in the junior year to determine the National Merit Scholarship winners.

The SAT is a test administered by the College Board, and it can be taken multiple times. The scores are usually submitted, along with a transcript, to four-year colleges during the admissions process. The SAT measures a student’s ability to reason and indicates academic readiness for college.

All three types of tests provide different information and may be taken during the high school years. However, in order to continue homeschooling under the Virginia Homeschool Statute §22.1-254.1, the law requires a parent to submit the results of a standardized achievement test or an independent evaluation each year.

Note: Please see an explanation of the testing and evaluation options in HEAV’s testing section.

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