Q. My two elementary-age children did not do well in math, so I put them back one grade level in math when we began homeschooling in September. They are doing well in other subjects. Do I have to test them for grade appropriate math?
A. Yes, I suggest you test them at the appropriate grade level. Students can only take one level of a standardized achievement test, so you should use the level for the grade in which they should be. With a better foundation in math, their scores may surprise you. You may want to test them early to determine each child’s composite score. Remember, this is a combination of mathematics and language arts. If the composite score is in or above the fourth stanine (23 percentile or above), it is fine—no questions asked. The math score could even be slightly below 23 percentile, while the composite score (mathematics and language arts together) are 23 percentile or higher. If this happens, you are still okay. The composite score is the important number.
If you receive the results early and the composite score is below 23 percentile, you have another option: an independent evaluation. Rather than submit the scores, you could have an independent evaluator review their work or give them a criterion-referenced test to determine if progress has been made from the beginning of the year until now. Rather than submitting achievement test scores, the evaluator would send a letter to the division superintendent indicating the results.
Here are the evaluation choices you have according to §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.
As you can see, you have several options if you give yourself enough time.