While homeschooling is still considered a parent’s right at the federal level, states still have very different requirements for their homeschooled students. This is due to states having the federal mandate to ensure the children that reside there are educated. These two federal laws often clash. How can a state ensure it’s students are educated and allow parents to educate their children independently?
To solve that question, many states absolve themselves of the responsibility if the parent chooses to homeschool. Almost half of our country’s states do require formal testing to ensure that students are showing some amount of progress. Many states also require homeschoolers to take state assessment at the end of the school year.
A lot of parents enjoy homeschooling because it allows them to engage in their child’s passions and reduce the amount of focus on testing. However, if your state requires testing, it’s important to give some amount of preparation for that test.
States that REQUIRE state assessments:
- Arkansas: This state requires the same amount of testing that public schooling completes. Failure to take these tests and report the scores will result in truancy.
- Colorado: In addition to state testing, the state requires parents to keep attendance and portfolio records.
- Florida: Testing is only required when the parent or guardian is completing the instruction, and must be completed annually.
- Georgia: Students here are required to take a standardized assessment every 3 years starting in 3rd grade.
- Hawaii: In addition to keeping a portfolio, parents are required to have their child assessed in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10th.
- Illinois: Testing is optional in this state.
- Iowa: Yearly assessments are required but the state allows parents several options for assessments.
- Louisiana: Testing is only required if parents are unable to certify that they are using a curriculum equal to the public school system.
- Massachusetts: Testing is required in this state, or get an approved for an alternate form of assessment.
- Minnesota: Students are required to take assessments but these results do not need to be shared with the school district.
- North Carolina: This state requires testing each year for english and math.
- North Dakota: Testing is required for grades 4, 6, 8, and 10, and must be given by a certified teacher.
- New Hampshire: Testing is an optional requirement in the state. Parents will be required to show other proof of progress if they choose not to test their child.
- New York: Students are required to take state assessments and achieve a score above the 33rd percentile.
- Ohio: While Ohio requires testing, non-public schools (also home schools) can opt out of these tests.
- Oregon: State assessments are required in 3, 5, 8, and 10 grades. More testing could be required if students performs below proficient.
- Pennsylvania: Testing is required for 3, 5, and 8th grades.
- South Dakota: This state requires testing in 2, 4, 8, and 11th grades.
- Tennessee: Testing is an option to show progress.
- Vermont: Students are required to be tested annually in this state.
- Virginia: Parents are only required to assess their student annually if they set up typical homeschool instruction (with a parent, in the home, with an approved curriculum).
- Washington: Annual testing is required but can be sent directly to the state.
If you are looking for more information on homeschool laws, check out my previous post here.
If you are interested in learning about your specific state, check out HSLDA’s website.
Another great resource is your state’s education department. Typically they have links that can direct you to the state’s requirements for homeschooling.