Under the Home Instruction Statute, homeschoolers in Virginia provide annual evidence of progress to their school divisions by August 1 each year.
The short version of this is that you can either use standardized testing, a letter of evaluation from a teacher or person with a masters degree, or an assessment such as a report card or transcript from a community college or college, college distance learning program, or home education correspondence school.
The school division superintendent can accept or reject evidence of progress based on whether she or he believes a student has achieved an adequate level of educational growth.
As an experienced homeschooling parent with a masters degree, I provide annual evaluations. For information about my homeschool evaluation services, please see the Virginia Homeschool Evaluation page on my website and fill out the contact form there to get my information packet.
What the Law Says about Evidence of Progress
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 any nationally normed standardized achievement test or
(ii) an evaluation or assessment which the division superintendent determines to indicate that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress, including but not limited to: (a) an evaluation letter from a person licensed to teach in any state, or a person with a master’s degree or higher in an academic discipline, having knowledge of the child’s academic progress, stating that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress; or (b) a report card or transcript from a community college or college, college distance learning program, or home-education correspondence school.
If You Don’t Provide Evidence of Progress or It’s Not Accepted
The Virginia Home Instruction Statute states if homeschool evidence of progress is not accepted or provided:
. . . 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 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.
VaHomeschoolers on Testing vs. Using an Evaluator
The most objective means to provide evidence of progress is to use a nationally normed standardized test; as long your child meets or exceeds the minimum score threshold at the fourth stanine, providing the results to your local school division superintendent automatically satisfies the requirement.
Some families, however, object to using a standardized test on philosophical grounds. Other families may have a child who does not perform well on tests or whose progress may not be easily measured by commonly available standardized tests. Children with special needs may benefit from having their progress assessed in light of their abilities and development. These families, and others, may choose to satisfy the evidence of progress requirement using an evaluation rather than test results. Parents can then submit the evaluation letter or report.
It is the local school division superintendent who determines if the evaluation or assessment indicates the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress; that does mean an evaluation may be rejected if the division superintendent does not find that adequate progress has been documented.
Choosing your evaluator carefully can minimize this risk and help make using an evaluator an enjoyable experience.
VaHomeschoolers on Choosing an Evaluator
While there is not a comprehensive list of evaluators in Virginia, VaHomeschoolers has a great article on choosing a homeschool evaluator in Virginia.
More from VaHomeschoolers
Who needs to provide Evidence of Progress? (grades and ages)
What is a typical homeschool evaluation like?
If you want to use a standardized test instead.