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July / August 2003

Homeschoolers shine at competitions
Ready for the new school year
Farris given prize
The tide turns with the Stumbo decision

Signs of the turning tide

Timeline of the Stumbo case

The Stumbos' thoughts
Bush signs bill to protect families

Along the way

The National Center for Home Education
Freedom Watch

Watching school choice issues
From the heart
Across the states
Members only
Active Cases
About Campus
President's page

Beyond our expectations


Prayer & Praise

a contrario sensu (on the other hand)

HSLDA social services contact policy/A plethora of forms

HSLDA legal contacts for March/April 2003



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Testing of homeschool students

As it has for the past three years, the Tennessee Department of Education again this year attempted to require homeschool students to take certain end-of-course tests. According to a memorandum to parents dated February 19, 2003, from Dr. Fretta Bunch, Director of Non-Public and Home Schools at the Tennessee Department of Education, such tests are mandated by state law. Specifically, Dr. Bunch's memorandum stated that students in grade 9 who are not associated with a church-related school and students in grades 9 through 12 who are associated with a church-related school must take tests in the areas of mathematics, science, and language arts. The memorandum also stated that the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test will be administered to students in grades 5 and 7 if the students are not associated with a church-related school.

It is Home School Legal Defense Association's opinion, based upon the language of the homeschool statute, the legislative history, and constitutional considerations, that homeschool students do not have to take the end-of-course tests described in the memorandum. The homeschool statute requires that tests administered to homeschool students be standardized achievement tests. None of the proposed end-of-course tests are standardized achievement tests.

State law requires that homeschool students not associated with a church-related school must take the same standardized tests required of public school students in grades 5, 7, and 9. The state intends to administer the TCAP test to these students in grades 5 and 7. Indications are that the TCAP test is a standardized achievement test which is properly required for students not associated with a church-related school.

As this article goes to press, public school officials have not attempted to force administration of the end-of-course tests on any HSLDA member family. Any family encountering difficulties with school officials over administration of these tests should contact our office immediately for assistance.

Dewitt T. Black