Q. I’m concerned that changing tests might raise a red flag when I report the scores. Can you tell me if you think this might be a problem?
A. No, changing tests should not be a red flag for your superintendent. You are free to choose ANY nationally normed standardized achievement test for your child–you can also switch to a portfolio or an evaluation, if you wish. The law does not require you to use the same test each year or the same method of evaluation, and the superintendent has no authority to compare this year’s test score with last year’s score. With evaluations or assessments, the superintendent’s authority is not as limited.
According to the law, the only judgment the superintendent or his designee can make is based on the composite score (the language arts and mathematics components of the test). The law states that the composite score must be in or above the 4th stanine. The 4th stanine begins at 23 percentile. The section of the homeschool statute relating to testing, §22.1-254.1 (C) states:
The parent who elects to provide home instruction shall provide the division superintendent by August 1 following the school year in which the child has received home instruction with either (i) evidence that the child has attained a composite score in or above the fourth stanine on any nationally normed standardized achievement test or (ii) an evaluation or assessment which the division superintendent determines to indicate that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress, including but not limited to: (a) an evaluation letter from a person licensed to teach in any state, or a person with a master’s degree or higher in an academic discipline, having knowledge of the child’s academic progress, stating that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress; or (b) a report card or transcript from a community college or college, college distance learning program, or home-education correspondence school.
As long as you comply with the testing requirements by August 1, and your child’s composite score is 23 percentile or higher, you have met the requirements of the law and no red flags should fly!