If you’ve made it this far you deserve a hefty pat on the back. You’ve completed all of your paper work on time, you’ve successfully home schooled all year long and now you’re ready to complete the final step in a year of paperwork for the Board of Education. Navigating the maze of annual assessment requirements is not easy. Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding annual assessment regulations in New York State.
What are my options for the annual assessment?
What you are allowed to do, depends on what grade your child is in. (By-the-way, your child is in the grade you put on your IHIP regardless of what grade level they are working at.) Standardized testing is required every year in high school, every other year in grades 4-8 (you can test in either 4th & 6th grades OR 5th & 7th grades). For years in which standardized testing is not required you can still do a standardized test, you can submit to a peer review panel or you can submit a written evaluation for your child. Some home school support groups organize peer review panels. You can inquire with your local group for further information if you are interested in that option.
How do I inform the Board of Education of my choice?
When you send in your 3rd quarterly reports you should also include a letter informing them of your choice for annual assessment. The letter has no particular format but it should accomplish several things:
It should inform the board of education of your choice.
It should say who will be doing the assessment.
It should say where the assessment will be taking place.
It should give a date by which the Board of Education has to get back to you if they do not approve your choice. (For example: I will assume your consent unless I here from you within two weeks of this letter.)
The regulations do state that the Board of Education must approve your choice.
So what do I do if I’m not approved?
The Board of Education cannot deny someone their choice of annual assessment for arbitrary reasons. They cannot require your child to come into school and be tested nor can they dictate that your child take one specific test. You also are not required to be certified. In fact, it is the publisher of the test who determines who is qualified to give one of their tests–not the Board of Education. (See below for a list of test publishers and their requirements.) If you receive a letter saying that your choice is not acceptable, try calling HSLDA for legal advice. In most instances, a phone call will take care of the problem.
How do I write a written assessment?
You summarize how you think your child has done. This is not a quarterly, you do not need to go through every subject individually. It is sufficient to just highlight key achievements for the year. You also need to mention whether or not your child is being promoted to the next grade.
So there you have it. . .the New York State regulations demystified and explained. If you’ve read the entire series, you know everything there is to know about fulfilling the home schooling requirements in New York.
One last word: you should do your best to comply with regulations in a timely manner. Consider it an exercise in keeping your word. (To get mine done, I actually take off a half of day from school and my husband does the dinner that night!) But complying with requests that are not specifically spelled out in the regulations only makes it harder for other home schooling families who do not do the same. Advocate for yourself, know your rights as a home schooling parent, and be “as wise as serpents but as gentle as doves.”
Click here for a list of testing publishers and resources to buy standardized testing materials.