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May 1, 2006

Parents Told State Assessment Tests a Must

Earlier this school year, Home School Legal Defense Association members in the Hale Kula Elementary School attendance zone received a letter that started off bad and quickly got worse. The letter began, "[d]uring the months of March and April 2006, your child will be taking the Hawaii State Assessment."

After explaining details of the state assessments the letter did state that parents could request to have their children exempted from the assessment. According to the school principal, in order for a request for exemption to be granted a letter would have to be submitted to the school where it would be forwarded to the State Test Development for review and approval.

Knowing that something wasn't right, these families quickly contacted HSLDA asking for help.

HSLDA immediately wrote a letter to Hale Kula Elementary School and pointed out that while Hawaii law requires homeschool parents to have their children tested in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, they are not required to take the Hawaii State Assessments. Instead, a parent can chose normed referenced achievement tests comparable to the state assessment.

While parents can request to have their children take the Hawaii State Assessments in a testing year, this is optional. Parents should be aware that the Hawaii State Assessments are content-based tests that are geared to curriculum taught in the public school. Therefore, a homeschool child who is taught at home may not be familiar with some of the content on these assessments.

After receiving this information from HSLDA the Hale Kula Elementary School dropped all of their demands.