Q. Who can evaluate my child in order to comply with Virginia homeschool law for proof of progress?
A. The answer depends on the option you have chosen for the evaluation. If you have filed a Notice of Intent form, you have several options for showing your child’s progress by August 1 each year.
You may use a standardized achievement test (option i), or submit an evaluation letter (option ii). If you have enrolled in a correspondence course or distance learning program that keeps your records, you can send a report card or transcript from the company (option iii).
Testing option (i), an achievement test, allows homeschoolers to choose ANY nationally normed standardized achievement test.There are a few tests a parent can administer themselves such as the CAT or TerraNova; other tests must be administered by a teacher or trained proctor. The rules are determined by the test publisher.
If you prefer not to use an achievement test, an evaluation (option ii) is another acceptable form of assessment. Evaluations tend to be less stressful than standardized tests because they are informal (usually an interview style) and not timed. They are extremely beneficial for young children, poor readers, and children with learning disabilities.
Under option (ii), the evaluation letter must be prepared by a person licensed to teach in any state, or a person with a master’s degree or higher in an academic discipline. It must state that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress.
The evaluator may choose to administer a criterion-referenced test (teacher-made test based on subjects that have been taught). He may interview the child, review samples of his work, and type a one-, two- or three-page report indicating whether there is enough progress to go on to the next grade.
There is no set form or format for evaluations and every evaluator will have his own style. Evaluators may be found through family, friends, other homeschoolers, church, local homeschool newsletters, support groups, etc. Before choosing an evaluator, be sure to ask a lot of questions to be confident that they understand your child and his or her needs.
If you’re wondering where to purchase tests, HEAV has compiled a list of companies offering tests for homeschoolers. We’ve also compiled a page listing counselors, testers, and tutors who have expressed an interest in working with homeschoolers.