Out of state accredited program — testing?

mail of the Day:
We’re doing an out of state accredited program that has tests and finals with the program. Do we still have to do the annual testing or assessment?

Short answer: yes.
In our state, correspondence schools are merely considered curriculum choice. You have the option to do testing or assessment with a WA state certificated teacher.
Here’s the law:
RCW 28A.200.010(1)(c) Ensure that a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education is administered annually to the child by a qualified individual or that an annual assessment of the student’s academic progress is written by a certificated person who is currently working in the field of education.

Let’s take those one at a time:

The Test option. The test has to be three things:
1) A Standardized achievement test (so, not a placement test, or a end-of-year test from your curriculum company, or an IQ test). From your youth, you may recognize the CAT or the Iowa, the Terra Nova, or the BASI. From WA public schools over the last decade, you’d recognize the WASL, the HSPE, the MSP, and the Smarter Balanced. From highschool, you’ll recognize the SAT, ACT, and PSAT (these all count toward the annual testing, so you don’t need to “double up” in those years).
2) Approved by the state board of education. The SBE doesn’t want to field 10,000 homeschool family’s questions about testing, so they ruled that if Buros (https://marketplace.unl.edu/buros/) has reviewed it, it’s a-okay with them. There are (pretty literally) no tests you can purchase as a parent that haven’t been reviewed by Buros. (There’s really only about a half dozen standardized achievement tests out there available to homeschool parents anyway).
3) Administered by a qualified individual. It is the testing companies who qualify individuals to administer their tests. In some cases, like, say, the Woodcock-Johnson, you have to be a psychologist who has specialized training in the administration of this test to give it. Obviously, most of us do not qualify. But there are plenty of companies catering to homeschool families’ testing needs, and if they will sell it to you to give to your own children at home, then it fulfills this part of the law.

Note on tests: Most tests are normed to be given in the spring of the year of the name of the test. So, for example, a 5th grade test is meant to be given somewhere between April and June, at the end of 5th grade. This has an effect on the percentile score. There’s a raw score (how many you got right or wrong), and then the percentile score (how well did you do against all the other people who’ve taken this test?) If you take the 5th grade test in the fall, as you’re beginning, and it’s normed for the spring, then you’re up against everyone who already finished 5th grade, not those who are just starting that work, and your percentile is likely to be lower. There are some companies now who are norming for other points in the year, because they’ve had enough homeschoolers do them at other points in the year to have data for those percentiles.

The Assessment option. The assessment also has three criteria:
1) That it’s written.
2) That it’s performed by a WA certificated person (a teacher).
3) That the teacher be currently working in the field of education.
(It is WHO’s position that the teacher need not be working for money to be working in the field of education. If said teacher is homeschooling h** own children, that counts).

~Jen GS