Annual Testing Requirements
In Minnesota, homeschoolers are required to take an annual test. Minn. Stat. 120A.22, subd. 11, states that children ages 7-17 not enrolled in public school must be assessed yearly using a “nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement examination.”
In both the Letter of Intent to Homeschool and the Letter of Intent to Continue Homeschooling, the parent must report to the superintendent which exam you are planning to use for your student(s) that year, who will administer the exam, and when and where the exam will take place. The results of the exam and your receipt for any testing expenses you incur should be kept as your proof of having tested. It is not required to report the test results to the school district. The testing results are for your information only. Per Minnesota Statute 120A.22, subdivision 11 (c), ” If the results of the assessments…indicate that the child’s performance on the total battery score is at or below the 30th percentile or one grade level below the performance level for children of the same age, the parent must obtain additional evaluation of the child’s abilities and performance for the purpose of determining whether the child has learning problems.”
Which Test Should I Use?
Tests are deemed acceptable at the district superintendent’s discretion and so they can vary from district to district. Some of the more common tests that many districts accept are as follows:
- Paper tests: Iowa Basic Skills Tests (IBST and ITED), California Achievement Test (CAT)–also known as Terra Nova and the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT [not to be confused with the college entrance exam])
- Oral tests: Peabody and Woodcock-Johnson
- Online tests: Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), California Achievement Test (CAT)
Each of these tests has various features that will help you decide which is best for your family. Here are some things to consider:
- Does your child do well with timed tests?
- What sorts of things do you hope to learn from testing? Are there particular areas you are concerned about monitoring with your students?
- Would your child prefer a paper-style test environment to a conversational one-on-one meeting with a proctor?
- How much time, energy and money do you have to invest in testing?
We have developed a document which highlights the major features of each test, along with some resources to get you started in learning more and determining which test is right for you and your family. Please keep in mind that these are just some of the more common tests that many districts will accept, but there are additional exams available that your district may accept. If you learn of a nationally-recognized exam that is not listed, contact your superintendent to confirm that they will accept it. In the event that the exam you opt for differs from the one indicated on the Letter of Intent, simply call your superintendent’s office and have them update the information on your form.