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Holistic Evaluation Reveals Child’s True Progress

by Scott Woodruff • May 1, 2018

In Virginia, students schooling under the home instruction option not only have to be evaluated every year, but risk being put on probation if they do not show what the law calls “adequate educational growth and progress.”

Fortunately, the law also establishes several different options for evaluation. And Home School Legal Defense Association can help families choose the best option for assessing their children.

Recently a homeschool mom in Virginia Beach submitted a year-end composite test score that fell below the “passing” level established under state law, which is the 4th stanine. (Scores that do not reach this benchmark are considered below average.) A school representative placed the child on probation, and the mom sought HSLDA’s assistance.

A Better Option

After analyzing the situation, I realized the mom could use a different assessment method to show her child was indeed learning and growing educationally. Because this diligent mom had actually turned in the test score ahead of the deadline, she had time, if she acted quickly, to obtain an evaluation letter.

The mom arranged for a seasoned education professional to evaluate the child’s progress during the year. With my guidance, the evaluator wrote a letter stating that the child had made an adequate level of educational growth and progress. Before the August 1 deadline, I sent a letter to the school official attaching the evaluation letter and explaining its legal status.

The official responded and acknowledged that the child would not be on probation.

If parents believe a standardized test might not show their child at their best but want to try it anyway, it’s important to administer the test well in advance of the August 1 deadline so sufficient time still remains to obtain an evaluation letter. In most cases, if a child’s composite score is below the 4th stanine, obtaining an evaluation letter might provide a more robust portrait of the child’s actual academic progress.

For more information about Virginia’s year-end evaluation requirements, view our homeschool law summary here.

Scott Woodruff

Senior Counsel

Scott is a seasoned attorney and homeschool advocate with decades of involvement in homeschool legal issues and cases. Read more.

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