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April 6, 2015

Homeschool Testing Law Repealed

Dee Black Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Arkansas. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

For the past 30 years, since 1985 when Arkansas’ homeschool law was first enacted, homeschool students have been required to take state tests that have no stated purpose. This came to an end on April 1, 2015, when Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law House Bill 1381 repealing the law’s testing provisions. Representative Nate Bell (District 20) sponsored this legislation.

Prior law required homeschool students to take a nationally recognized norm-referenced achievement test selected by the State Board of Education in the same grades for which norm-referenced tests were required of public school students. But there was no minimum score that homeschoolers had to achieve on the tests, and only administrative summaries without personally identifiable information went to the Arkansas Department of Education. These summaries showed that homeschool students were consistently outperforming their public school peers. Homeschool parents were not required to keep test scores as part of their children’s school records.

By repealing the testing requirements, the Arkansas General Assembly will save taxpayers an estimated $250,000 per year that was being spent unnecessarily to administer the tests.

Since the new law does not go into effect until 90 days after the end of the 2015 legislative session, homeschoolers will still be required to take the state tests scheduled for the current school year.

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