Assessments & Record Keeping
If you are homeschooling your children, you will need to make a plan for assessing their progress, as well as a plan for keeping and maintaining your child’s educational records. Assessments are means of ascertaining what learning has taken place.
In some states, home educators are required to have their children assessed each year (or every few years) by standardized test or portfolio review. In other states, assessments are not required. We recommend that homeschooling parents have their children’s academic progress assessed annually whether or not their state requires it. This assessment should be administered by a certified teacher who is not a family member or friend.
We also recommend that homeschooling parents be proactive about maintaining good records! Your homeschool is a school, and that means you are responsible for maintaining your child’s academic records. If you conduct an annual assessment, you will have a jump start on record keeping, but there are other records that you will also need to maintain, including medical records and attendance records.
Assessments and good record keeping provide important benefits, including:
- You will learn new things about your child’s academic progress and needs. If education is a journey toward a destination, assessment and evaluation are the GPS tracking system you use to figure out when you’ve made a wrong turn and need to recalibrate. Assessment gives you a moment to slow down and survey the whole picture; it also provides an opportunity to get feedback and advice from a professional educator. Good record keeping will also help make you a better educator, as it offers the opportunity to look back on your child’s previous work and gain a better understanding of their progress over time.
- It will smooth the way if you enroll your children in a brick-and-mortar school. If you decide to enroll your child in a public or private school at some point in the future, you will be able to show school administrators evidence of your child’s academic progress and grade level. For this reason, we recommend that parents maintain their child’s annual assessment as part of the child’s permanent academic record.
- It helps you demonstrate that you are a responsible homeschooling parent. If questions ever arise regarding the quality of your homeschool, you will be able to show evidence of your children’s learning. Keeping good records and having your child’s progress assessed each year, even where it is not required, will also demonstrate that you are a responsible home educator who cares about your child’s education.
- Good record keeping and organization is key to your child’s future success. Homeschool graduates who report receiving deficient educations frequently point to a parent’s lack of organization as a causal factor. Remember, if you homeschool your child through high school graduation, you will need to create your child’s high school transcript, and your child will need to be able to access their academic records as adults, just as they would if they graduated from a traditional school. Keeping good records will help ensure that your child starts out on firm footing as they enter college or the workforce.
Don’t forget to read the other articles in this series!
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