Florida Homeschool Annual Evaluation
You must file an annual evaluation, which is due on the anniversary of the date on your Notice of Intent. Some school districts may send out a letter requesting (or demanding) that you submit your evaluation by a date they provide, but you are under no obligation to do so. Nor do you need to request an extension of time.
The parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student’s demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability. The parent shall select the method of evaluation and shall file a copy of the evaluation annually with the district school superintendent’s office in the county in which the student resides. The annual educational evaluation shall consist of one of the following: Statute 1002.41(1)(c)
1) A teacher selected by the parent shall evaluate the student’s educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level; There are many ex-teachers (holding a current teaching certificate) who are now home educating their children. Your support group can give you the names of some in your area, or see the Evaluators list in the Evaluators and Tutors section of this site. You do not need to use a teacher who is currently employed by your county’s school district. (And, in fact, you’ll probably have a happier experience if you select a teacher who is also a homeschooling parent.)
2)The student shall take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher; Many support groups offer group testing. Alternately, your evaluator may be able to administer the test to your child.
3) The student shall take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district; This is the FCAT and it is not recommended that home education students participate in this testing, particularly if you haven’t spent several months teaching to the test, as public schools have done. If you choose to participate, your test scores will be sent directly to the Superintendent and he/she will then forward them to you. So you’ll be the last to see the results.
4) The student shall be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s. 490.003(7) or (8);This refers to a psychological evaluation and is an expensive choice but may be worth pursuing if you have a special needs child or one who learns differently.
5) The student shall be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the district school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student’s parent. This is theoretically possible but rarely used.
The chart below gives an overview of the options.
It is a good idea to talk with several evaluators before selecting one. This way you can ensure that your evaluator and you are of like minds with regard to teaching style, record keeping and so on. Best approach is to find an evaluator who is (or was) a home educator
|Parent or guardian selects a Florida state certified teacher to review the portfolio, speak with the child (and parent) and, less frequently, administer a test to the child. Any Florida certified teacher may evaluate your child, regardless which subjects he/she is certified to teach.||Pros: Low stress for both parent and child. Parent receives information about child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as feedback on teaching plan.|
Cons: Possible difficulty in locating a suitable evaluator.
|Varies, typically from $50 – $60.|
|Nationally Normed Test|
Do not submit the actual test results to the School District. Instead, have the test administrator or your evaluator submit an evaluation. If you choose to have your child tested at a public school facility, the results will be sent directly to the Superintendent. Some support groups offer group testing.
|May be any nationally normed test (which means that your child’s results are compared against a national sample of other students), not necessarily one used by the school district you reside in. Samples of valid tests include the ITBS, CTBS, SAT, CAT, MAT and ERB. Must be administered by a certified teacher.||Pros: Gives parents a benchmark of child’s test-taking skills.|
Cons: Can be stressful for child. Places results for an entire year of study on a few hours of testing. Children not familiar with test format or group setting may not perform well.
|Varies. Roughly $50-$60 per child in a group setting; $100+ in a private setting.|
|State Assessment||The FCAT is administered to all Florida public school children. Your child may take this test at a location designated by the School District. Test scores are sent to the Superintendent, who forwards a copy to you.||Cons: Results are sent directly to School District. Your child will be taking the test in an unfamiliar environment.Your child will probably not have been “taught to the test” nor will he or she have received months of drill in taking this test.||Nominal or free|
|Psychological Evaluation||Evaluation by a psychologist holding a valid active license (as per statute 490.003).||Pros: Used in special circumstances (i.e., learning disability, giftedness, etc.)|
|$200 and up|
|Special Agreement||Any other method agreed to by the parent and Superintendent, such as: correspondence school records, special testing, etc.||Pros: Tailored to student. Cons: May be difficult to convince Superintendent to accept alternative.||Depends on arrangements made.|
When to file
Florida homeschoolers must file an evaluation annually. It is due on the anniversary of the date of your Notice of Intent. So if you filed your Notice of Intent on October 10, your evaluation is due by the following October 10 (and on each anniversary thereafter). Some districts may send you a letter or form indicating that you must submit your evaluation by a prescribed date, but this is not supported by statute.
What to file
Regardless which evaluation option you choose, it is recommended that you submit an evaluation letter to the School District rather than actual test scores or evaluation details. Your evaluator’s letter should be brief and to the point. It should include the same identifying information provided in your notice of intent, along with a statement that your child is performing at a level commensurate with ability. The letter must be signed by either a certified teacher or a licensed psychologist. Sample homeschooling forms are provided for your convenience.