Providing Evidence of Progress for Special Needs

Parents in Virginia have testing options for providing the evidence of progress required by the homeschool statute. We can help you navigate for the special needs student.

How to Provide Evidence of Progress for a Child with Special Needs

Parents of all children in Virginia have two options for providing the evidence of progress required by the homeschool statute: (1) a nationally-normed, standardized achievement test, or (2) an evaluation or assessment. You may reference a simple breakdown of these evidence of progress options on our Testing page.

For a child who has, or is suspected of having, special needs, an evaluation would be appropriate. An evaluation will reflect the individual accomplishments the child has made throughout the year as opposed to holding them to a norming standard applied to all children who do not have special needs. Start your search for an evaluator here.

A parent may still decide to use a nationally-normed standardized achievement test for a child with special needs. However, there are important considerations for this choice and there are necessary steps that must be taken beforehand.

Can A Parent Make Accommodations?

Parents may not independently make accommodations for a child when taking a nationally-normed, standardized achievement test.

Doing so will invalidate your test results as well as affect the publisher’s accommodation responsibilities. The best option for providing evidence of progress for a child with special needs who is in need of a testing accommodations is an evaluation. For more information about evaluations, please visit our Homeschool Evaluations page.

Accommodations on a Nationally-Normed, Standardized Achievement Test

First, the parent must call the test supplier beforehand to receive permission for accommodations*. This call will also provide specific testing procedure instructions for the individual accommodation.

The parent will likely be asked to provide documentation confirming and detailing the accommodations that the parent is asking to make for their child. A document provided via a certified professional or evidence of an active IEP are examples of documentation.

Note that, if an IEP has expired, it may no longer be used as documentation. The parent will need to either renew the IEP through the public schools or switch over to an SEP (see additional resources below). If a parent chooses to write their own SEP, there may still be instances where the parent will be required to produce documentation regarding accommodation requests.

This initial call and set up also provides the testing company a notification so they can do what is required for the accommodation on their end. This may include the important act of disaggregating the student’s test results from the national and standardized norm.

Second, order the test. Nationally-normed, standardized achievement tests are based on age-grade standards. Therefore, unless the child has officially been held back, the parent should order the grade level that the child would be in were he enrolled in public school. Inquire with the individual testing company regarding more specific ordering instructions.