One of the assessment options that might be available in your state is an evaluation by a qualified third party.

An evaluator meets personally with you and your child. Oftentimes, they review a portfolio exhibiting your child’s academic progress. However, evaluators may use other methods of assessment—such as testing and interviews. The evaluator then provides a report on your child’s progress for you to submit to the school district.

Why consider using an evaluator for your end-of-year assessment?

  • This is a great option for children who do not test or read well.
  • It also works for families whose curriculum follows a nontraditional academic sequence. In this scenario, a child’s knowledge may be out of sync with what a standardized test would measure.
  • The evaluator can be a wise choice for children who entered the school year with deficits and need to have their progress recognized, but not compared with other students.
  • Some families just like this option—whether it’s because they prefer to not test their kids or they appreciate the holistic, one-on-one approach!

Here’s How It Works

First (as always!), review your state homeschool law to find out if you can use the evaluator option for your child’s year-end assessment—and if there are any associated requirements, such as evaluator qualifications.

Then, it’s up to you to choose an evaluator. Since this is someone who will be working directly with you and your child, as well as providing their honest assessment of your child’s progress, seek an experienced evaluator you feel comfortable with.

The evaluator option does add an element of subjectivity to your child’s end-of-year assessment. Standardized testing provides automatic proof of progress—an education official can’t reject scores that are above the threshold set by the law. But officials may have the discretion to reject an evaluator’s report or determine that it does not indicate progress.

So, that’s good reason to ask lots of questions and exercise your best judgment in selecting a qualified evaluator.

Here is a very helpful page on choosing an evaluator. (Although it is specific to Virginia, the principles are broadly applicable.)

For information about the evaluator option in your state and for help finding a local evaluator, check out your state homeschool organization’s website.