Don’t be intimidated by testing. Most homeschool students do very well. If you find your child is an exception, give yourself enough time, if need be, to retest or choose another method of evaluation. Testing can be very beneficial! It’s not only an evaluation of how your child is progressing, but also a measure of how effectively your teaching methods work with your child. You can use testing results to adjust your curriculum, teaching style, and teaching time to fit your child’s individual needs. Testing can be a great benefit.
What the Law Requires
§ 22.1-254.1(C) 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.
A good place to start is with the basics of what the law requires. If you homeschool under the homeschool statute, §22.1-254.1, you must provide evidence of academic progress. The results of an evaluation or assessment should be sent to your division superintendent by August 1 each year. Parents may use
- any nationally normed standardized achievement test; or
- an evaluation or assessment, including, but not limited to,
- an evaluation letter from a person licensed to teach in any state, or a letter from a person with a master’s degree or higher in an academic discipline,
- or a report card or transcript from a community college or college, college distance-learning program, or home education correspondence school.
The first testing option–a nationally normed standardized achievement test–is used by many parents. If your student takes a standardized achievement test, he must have a composite score in or above the fourth stanine or 23rd percentile. A composite score is made up only of the mathematics and language arts components of the test. Students are not required to take other sections of the test.
Children who are under the age of six as of September 30 of the school year are not required to “provide evidence of academic progress.”
§ 22.1-254.1(C) The requirements of subsection C shall not apply to children who are under the age of six as of September 30 of the school year.
The links at the left will provide more details about where, when, and how to test.