On Monday, April 6, the New York Board of Regents voted on a series of emergency regulation changes to help educators, students, and professionals cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those changes was directed at the annual assessment requirement for homeschool parents.

What the Board of Regents Changed

The regents agreed to amend Section 100.10(h) and add the following:

(2-a) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of this subdivision, an alternative form of evaluation consisting of a written narrative prepared by a person specified in subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (2) of this subdivision shall be permitted for all grades in the 2019-20 school year due to the state of emergency declared by the governor pursuant to an executive order(s) for the COVID-19 crisis. See here for more information.

What This Means for Homeschool Families

This new paragraph allows homeschool parents to select the alternative written narrative evaluation for their child, regardless of grade level, for the annual assessment requirement.

While you can still use a standardized achievement test, no one is required to test this year. Even your child who is in high school can use the alternative written narrative evaluation for their assessment.

As always, the alternative written narrative evaluation can be prepared by a New York state-certified teacher, home instruction peer group review panel, or other person. The “other person” could include the parent.

While the regulations state the person preparing the alternative written narrative evaluation “shall be chosen by the parent with the consent of the superintendent,” we generally recommend that you indicate who you intend to use to prepare the evaluation in your third quarterly report. It is a good idea to indicate when you intend on conducting the evaluation as well.

Since New York has completely waived the state assessments for public school students (including the Regents exams) we do not expect your local superintendent to object if you want to conduct the alternative written narrative evaluation yourself—even if your school district has refused to allow this in the past.

However, if you do have any problems and you are a member of HSLDA, please contact us so we can assist you in this matter.

This change is due to Homeschool New York (formally known as LEAH) and HSLDA working together to urge the New York State Education Department to consider the needs of the homeschool community during this crisis.

There are some additional suggestions we would like to see implemented, both now and for the future. We will continue to work on these issues!