P. O. BOX 2120
February 28, 1997


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
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. The VSAP consists of the Stanford Achievement
  Test, Form TA, Abbreviated (Stanford 9 TA), administered to
  all students in Virginia in grades 3, 5, 8, and 11.  Parents
  of home-instructed students, in conjunction with the
  division superintendent, determine the method by which
  student progress will be measured.  The section of the Code,
  Section 22.1-254.1 C, addresses assessment and states:

  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.

     As in previous years, the Department of Education will
  continue to pay the cost of test materials and scoring for
  home-instructed students.  School divisions should extend
  the VSAP testing program to home-instructed students in all
  state-mandated grade levels.  Further, should a school
  division administer the Stanford 9 to students in grade
  levels other than those mandated by the state (typically
  referred to as "off-grade" testing), home-instructed
  students should be offered the option to participate in
  testing at these grade levels also.  School divisions are
  under no obligation to offer testing to home-instructed
  students in grade levels in which no such testing is offered
  to regular students in the school division.  However, should
  a school division desire to offer participation in off-grade
  testing, even at grade levels not tested within the school
  divisions, the state will continue to pay the costs of test
  materials and scoring, as has been the practice in the past.

  The following table offers an example of how this would work
  in a school division where the VSAP program is administered
  at grades 3, 5, 8, and 11 as part of the state mandated
  program and the school division augments the program with
  testing in grades 4 and 9.

                      Testing for home-    State pays costs
                      instructed           of materials and
                      Students             scoring for home-

  VSAP state-         Yes                  Yes
  mandated testing
  in grades 3, 5, 8,
  and 11

  Local "off grade"   Yes                  Yes
  testing at grades
  4 and 9

  Other grade         Local option         Yes
  levels, not tested

  A copy of the full 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
  Cam Harris, Shelley Loving-Ryder, Dan Keeling, Kevin Hughes,
  or Judy Singh at 804/225-2107.

  Attachment:  A hard copy of this memo and its attachment
               will be sent to the superintendent's office.