Don’t be intimidated by testing! Most homeschool students do very well, and 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. Also, If you find your child is an exception, give yourself enough time, if need be, to retest or choose another method of evaluation.
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
or an equivalent score on the ACT, SAT, or PSAT 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 equivalent score on the ACT, SAT, or PSAT test;
- 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.
Where to Send Test Results
Your test results or evaluation letter should be sent to the same person to whom you sent your notice of intent—your division superintendent or his designee.
ACT, SAT, and PSAT Law Change
As of July 1, 2015, a parent may provide a score from the ACT, SAT, or PSAT test that is equal to the fourth stanine on a standardized achievement test. A parent may submit the results of an ACT, SAT, or PSAT test administered at any time during the school year.
Although the ACT, SAT, and PSAT report may not provide stanine scores, percentile scores are usually reported. According to the Virginia Department of Education, students with a composite score at or above the 24th* percentile on the ACT, SAT, or PSAT will meet the requirement for academic achievement.
*HEAV has contacted the Virginia Department of Education to encourage consistency in using the 23rd percentile as the beginning of the fourth stanine on the bell curve. Historically, this has been an acceptable cutoff score for proof of academic progress.
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.
Also check out the Kindergarten FAQ.