The West Virginia Department of Education released a memo citing the impact of the coronavirus to recommend that county boards give homeschoolers a sort of grace period until December 31, 2020 if they submit a standardized test as their annual assessment.
This grace period does not apply to those submitting other forms of assessment. Although the WVDE does not have authority to change the law, it is an influential authority and most counties defer to its guidance.
In West Virginia the majority of parents submit a notice of intent under subsection West Virginia Code 18-8-1(c)2, which provides four options for annual assessments. Although an assessment must be performed every year for each child, only assessments for children in grades 3, 5, 8, and 11 must be submitted to the county board of education.
In addition to taking a nationally normed standardized achievement test, other assessment options include participating in a state testing program at the public schools (canceled for the year), a portfolio reviewed by a certified teacher, or an alternate academic assessment.
In light of the coronavirus, group testing may have been affected, and HSLDA recommends you contact your testing coordinator to determine what impact the latest WVDE memo will have on your testing group. HSLDA commends the WVDE for providing this commonsense guidance, and we hope the county boards of education will follow it.
Teachers available for portfolio reviews can also be found via CHEWV and WVHEA online listings. For those concerned with social distancing, portfolio reviews do not need to be done in person, and many teachers are using technology to review portfolios via email and Facebook. As long as a person holds a valid teaching certificate, her or she is qualified to conduct a review.
HSLDA members are invited to use our HSLDA forms and resources to report assessments online.
What To Expect
West Virginia law provides that a county board of education can only deny homeschooling by seeking an order from a circuit court. Although failing to submit a required assessment might meet the probable cause standard to initiate such a proceeding, it is HSLDA’s experience and expectation that a county board would not be likely to seek such an order under the present circumstances.
This is especially the case for those submitting a late standardized test in light of the guidance from the WVDE.
HSLDA recognizes that our homeschooling community is stronger and better protected because of the leadership and effort of CHEWV and WVHEA. You can visit their websites to find more resources.
Montani Semper Liberi!