COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 27
February 18, 2000

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Home-Instructed Students and the Virginia State Assessment Program (VSAP)


 This memo addresses the responsibility of local school divisions in administering 
the tests included in the Virginia State Assessment Program (VSAP) to home-instructed
students. 

Parents of home-instructed students, in conjunction with the division superintendent,
are to determine the method by which student progress will be measured.  Section 
22.1-254.1C of the Code of Virginia addresses assessment of home-instructed students,
stating:

"The parent who elects to provide home instruction shall provide the division 
superintendent by August 1 following the school year in which the child has received 
home instruction with either (i) evidence that the child has attained a composite 
score in or above the fourth stanine on a battery of achievement tests which have 
been approved by the Board of Education for use in the public schools, or (ii) an 
evaluation or assessment which, in the judgment of the division superintendent, 
indicates that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and 
progress.

"In the event that evidence of progress as required in this subsection is not 
provided by the parent, the home-instruction program for that child may be placed on
probation for one year. Parents shall file with the division superintendent evidence 
of their ability to provide an adequate education for their child in compliance with 
subsection A of this section and a remediation plan for the probationary year which 
indicates their program is designed to address any educational deficiency. Upon 
acceptance of such evidence and plan by the division superintendent, the home 
instruction may continue for one probationary year.  If the remediation plan and 
evidence are not accepted or the required evidence of progress is not provided by
August 1 following the probationary year, home instruction shall cease and the 
parent shall make other arrangements for the education of the child which comply 
with 22.1-254. The requirements of subsection C shall not apply to children who are 
under the age of six as of September 30 of the school year."
 
In the VSAP, the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition Form TA, Abbreviated 
(Stanford 9 TA) is administered during the fall semester to all public-school 
students in Virginia in grades 4, 6, and 9.  During the spring semester, school 
divisions are required to offer the VSAP testing program to home-instructed students 
in grades 3, 5, and 8, which use the same levels of the secure Stanford 9 TA 
administered during the fall semester in grades 4, 6, and 9.  Administration of the 
Stanford 9 TA to home-instructed students in grades 3, 5, and/or 8 should take place
during the spring norming window of April 1-30.

Further, a school division that administers Stanford 9 to students in grade levels 
other than those mandated by the state (typically referred to as "off-grade" testing)
should also offer home-instructed students at those levels the option to participate 
in testing.  However, school divisions are under no obligation to offer testing to 
home-instructed students in grade levels in which no such testing is offered to 
public school students in the school division. Administration of the Stanford 9 to 
home-instructed students in off-grade levels should also take place during the 
norming window of April 1-30.

The Department of Education will continue to pay the cost of materials and scoring 
for spring semester Stanford 9 testing of home-instructed students.  This will 
include testing of home-instructed students at all off-grade levels, including those
grade levels in which public school students are not tested.

The following questions address an example of how this would work in a school 
division where the VSAP is administered at grades 4, 6, and 9 as part of the 
state-mandated program during the fall semester, and where the same school division 
augments the program with off-grade Stanford 9 testing of public school students in 
grades 2 and 7.

Q:	Is it required that the division offer the tests to home-instructed students 
        in the spring semester?

In correspondence to state-mandated testing of grades 4, 6, and 9 during the fall 
semester, the division must offer the tests to home-instructed students in grades 3,
5, and 8.

In correspondence to the division's off-grade testing of public school students in 
grades 2 and 7, it must also offer the tests to home-instructed students in grades 2
and 7.

The division may, but is not required to, offer the tests to home-instructed students
in other grades in which public school students are not tested. 

Q:	Will the Department of Education pay for materials and scoring for these 
        home-instructed students?

The Department of Education will pay for Stanford 9 testing of any home-instructed 
student.  In this example school division, that would include home-instructed 
students in grades 2, 3, 5, 7, and 8, where the test must be offered, and any other 
grade to which the division elects to offer Stanford 9 testing to home-instructed 
students.

A copy of the complete section of the code related to home-instructed students is 
attached for your reference.  Should you have any questions regarding the assessment
of home-instructed students in the VSAP program, please do not hesitate to call the 
staff of the Division of Assessment and Reporting at (804) 225-2102.


JLD/CMH/jc

Attachment 
                    Code Related to Home Instructed Students

22.1-254.1. Declaration of policy; requirements for home instruction of children.

A.	When the requirements of this section have been satisfied, instruction of 
children by their parents in their home is an acceptable alternative form of 
education under the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Any parent of any child 
who will have reached the fifth birthday on or before September 30 of any school 
year and who has not passed the eighteenth birthday may elect to provide home 
instruction in lieu of school attendance if he (i) holds a baccalaureate degree in 
any subject from an accredited institution of higher education; or (ii) is a teacher
of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education; or (iii) has enrolled the 
child or children in a correspondence course approved by the Superintendent of Public
Instruction; or (iv) provides a program of study or curriculum which, in the judgment 
of the division superintendent, includes the standards of learning objectives adopted 
by the Board of Education for language arts and mathematics and provides evidence 
that the parent is able to provide an adequate education for the child. 

B.	Any parent who elects to provide home instruction in lieu of school 
attendance shall annually notify the division superintendent in August of his 
intention to so instruct the child and provide a description of the curriculum 
to be followed for the coming year and evidence of having met one of the criteria 
for providing home instruction as required by subsection A of this section. Any 
parent who moves into a school division after the school year has begun shall notify
the division superintendent of his intention to provide home instruction as soon as 
practicable and shall comply with the requirements of this section within thirty days
of such notice. The division superintendent shall notify the Superintendent of Public
Instruction of the number of students in the school division receiving home 
instruction. 

C.	The parent who elects to provide home instruction shall provide the division 
superintendent by August 1 following the school year in which the child has received
home instruction with either (i) evidence that the child has attained a composite 
score in or above the fourth stanine on a battery of achievement tests which have 
been approved by the Board of Education for use in the public schools or (ii) an 
evaluation or assessment which, in the judgment of the division superintendent, 
indicates that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and 
progress. 

In the event that evidence of progress as required in this subsection is not 
provided by the parent, the home instruction program for that child may be placed 
on probation for one year. Parents shall file with the division superintendent 
evidence of their ability to provide an adequate education for their child in 
compliance with subsection A of this section and a remediation plan for the 
probationary year which indicates their program is designed to address any 
educational deficiency. Upon acceptance of such evidence and plan by the division 
superintendent, the home instruction may continue for one probationary year. If the 
remediation plan and evidence are not accepted or the required evidence of progress 
is not provided by August 1 following the probationary year, home instruction shall 
cease and the parent shall make other arrangements for the education of the child 
which comply with 22.1-254. The requirements of subsection C (i) shall not apply to 
children who are under the age of six as of September 30 of the school year. 

D.	For purposes of this section, "parent" means the biological parent or 
adoptive parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of a child.
 
Nothing in this section shall prohibit a pupil and his parents from obtaining an 
excuse from school attendance by reason of bona fide religious training or belief 
pursuant to 22.1-257. 

E.	Any party aggrieved by a decision of the division superintendent may appeal 
his decision within thirty days to an independent hearing officer. The independent 
hearing officer shall be chosen from the list maintained by the Executive Secretary 
of the Supreme Court for hearing appeals of the placements of children with 
disabilities. The costs of the hearing shall be apportioned among the parties by 
the hearing officer in a manner consistent with his findings.