COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO NO. 20
February 9, 2001
INFORMATIONAL
 
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Home-Instructed Students and the Virginia State Assessment Program

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 and answers explain 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 in the spring.

· Is it required that the division offer the Stanford 9 TA tests to home-instructed students in grades 3, 5, and 8 in the spring semester?

Yes. The Stanford 9 TA tests must be offered to home-instructed students in grades 3, 5, and 8 because the test forms that are administered to these students are the same as those administered to public school students in the fall of grades 4, 6, and 9.

Will the state pay for materials and scoring for these students in grades 3, 5, and 8?

Yes.

· Because the division conducted off-grade Stanford 9 testing in grades 2 and 7, must it also offer Stanford 9 to home-instructed students in grades 2 and 7?

Yes, and the state will pay for materials and scoring for those home-instructed students.
 

· Is the division obligated to offer Stanford 9 to home-instructed students in other off-grades?

No. Doing so is completely at the divisionís option. If the division elects to use this option, the state will pay for materials and scoring for home-instructed students in those other off-grades.

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 contact Scott Taylor (mailto:jtaylor@mail.vak12ed.edu), specialist for assessment, at (804) 225-2102.

JLD/jc

Attachment

Attachment to Supts. Memo 20

 

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.