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November 1, 2007

School Districts Attempt To Impose Unauthorized Testing

Several school districts in Pennsylvania have attempted to impose additional, unauthorized standardized testing requirements on homeschooling families. According to state law, parents conducting a home education program for their children must have standardized achievement tests administered to them in grades 3, 5, and 8. The results of these tests must be included in the portfolio of records and materials submitted to the local public school superintendent at the end of the school year. However, school officials in Everett Area School District, Blairsville-Saltsburg School District, Norwin School District, and Lehman, Pennsylvania, indicated earlier this year that they want homeschool students to be tested at grade levels in addition to those prescribed by state law. Everett Area School District notified homeschoolers to submit test results in grades 3 through 8 and 11. Blairsville-Saltsburg School District sought test results in grades 3 through 8. Norwin School District expected homeschoolers to test in grades 4, 6, 7, and 11, in addition to the required grades of 3, 5, and 8. The public schools in Lehman advised homeschoolers that testing is required in grades 7 and 11, in addition to those prescribed by state law.

After being contacted by Home School Legal Defense Association member families whose school districts were attempting to exceed the legal requirements, Senior Counsel Dewitt Black corresponded with officials in each of the school districts to inform them of the limitations on standardized testing. In each case, the school districts retreated from their positions and accepted test results for those grade levels prescribed by statute.

HSLDA member families encountering school districts attempting to impose excessive testing are encouraged to contact us for assistance. Undoubtedly, there are other school districts which are misguided in their application of the testing requirements for home educators.