What do I need to do to have my child evaluated?
The law requires an annual evaluation, which the parent or guardian must file with the district school superintendent's office, to demonstrate educational progress at a level commensurate with the student's abilities. The annual evaluation is due one year after submission of your letter of intent. There are 5 evaluation options provided for by Florida law:
1. Individual evaluation by a Florida certified teacher of your choice.2. Any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher of your choice.3. State student assessment test.4. Psychological evaluation5. Any other method mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.
It is your responsibility as a homeschooler and parent to contact a certified teacher to make the arrangements for the evaluation. Fees for evaluations do vary so it is a good idea to contact the evaluators directly for more information. If you need recommendations of evaluators we have a list of teachers that we have used.
Types of Evaluations
Just as there is no one curriculum for every child or family, there is no one way to have your child evaluated. You need to prayerfully consider each option and let God lead you to what is right for your family and children.
Advantages- Be able to compare your child's knowledge of facts, basic skills, and concepts common to the grade level. Gives the ability to assess year to year development and be able to determine possible academic strengths and weaknesses.
Disadvantages - Don't assume that an achievement test has measured all of the important skills and objectives you are trying to teach. Some children just don't test well.
Evaluation of Test Scores
You may want to test for your own information but not send in the results to the state. If your child did not test well compared to last year, this might send a red flag and you may be put under review by the state. (We have never heard of anyone having to be reviewed but it pays to mention it). Some parents like the state to have as little information as possible on their children. An evaluation need only to state that the child is progressing at his/her ability.
Evaluation of Portfolio
Advantages- Some children do not test well and this may be a good option for them. You may also gain information from the evaluator that may help you plan your curriculum for next year.
Disadvantages- Some of us have a hard time putting those portfolios together but remember even if you choose to test you are required by law to keep a portfolio for two years.
Tips for Your Portfolio
According to Florida State Laws, a student enrolled in the home education program is required to build and maintain a progressive portfolio of his/her work. Most umbrella schools also require a portfolio be maintained. So, whether you are homeschooling with a private umbrella school or independently, you must build and maintain a portfolio. Umbrella schools may have different requirements but the State of Florida requires you keep the portfolio for at least two years after the year of instruction has ended.
The fun thing is your portfolio can be whatever you want it to be. Some keep everything in a binder, some build elaborate scrapbooks, some keep everything in a box. It is really up to you. Make sure that you do include enough samples and be neat enough to build an impression of integrity should you be called on to present it.
Here are some suggestions that may help you in deciding what to include in your portfolio:
INDENTIFIER - a title page of some design containing child’s name, age grade level, date.
PERMANENT LEGAL RECORD - this includes the birth certificate and social security#. Bob Jones University Press offers a printed folder with spaces for all pertinent information. Use pencil and update as necessary.
HEALTH RECORDS - immunizations, health concerns such as surgeries, disabilities, diseases and history. Ask your doctor for a form or update from their files including dates and signature.
TESTING AND EVALUATION REPORT- originals or copies of year-end testing or evaluation showing compliance with law. Also include your own test and personal evaluations in child’s records. (These more personal evaluations may be taken out before showing portfolio to authorities for the sake of privacy but are important for you to keep.)
JOURNAL OR LESSON PLANS- a record of what you have done and in what basic sequence. Be able to record the objectives of the lessons and not just page numbers of texts. Journals are diaries kept as the learning occurs.
ATTENDANCE LOG- Showing a log of intentional instruction shows responsibility and integrity.
SAMPLES- don’t keep everything!(except for high school years) Only keep what is noteworthy as far as progress made, tests, artwork, and book reports. This shows credibility as well as true progress when compared to later, better work. Use photos (especially of 3 - dimensional projects, and experiments), recordings, and your own creativity!
READING LIST-A list of books that the child has read and books that have been read aloud to him or her. This is not required but can be impressive (and encouraging to look back upon at year’s end!). Let student keep his own logs.
CURRICULUM DATA - List textbooks or resources used for instruction. Include author(s) , publisher, copyright or edition, and (for your reference ) the supplier.
EXTRACURRICULARS - record in some form extracurricular instruction, field trips, science fairs, community or ministry work, church or organization involvement, athletics, etc. Get these signed and dated when other leaders have been involved.
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS- trophies, ribbons, certificates, etc. Photos work nicely for unwieldy awards as long as the child is in the picture with it! Get group shots.