The Home School Court Report
No. 5

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State Acknowledges District Error

In Altoona, the Silcott family received a letter from a school improvement consultant (SIC) at the Iowa Department of Education informing them that their son had failed to make adequate progress for the school year and that they would have to enroll him in school or submit an acceptable remediation plan. The Home School Legal Defense Association member family asked us for guidance.

We promptly called the SIC, who asserted that even though the student had scored above the 30th percentile in all areas, he had failed to make six months’ progress since the previous year. HSLDA countered, however, that he did not need to make six months’ progress, since his scores indicated he was at grade level. (Under Iowa law, a test score must be at or above the 30th percentile and either show six months of progress or show that the student is at grade level.)

The SIC then discovered that her file contained an error. When the local school district originally transmitted the student’s information to the state, the district misidentified the student’s grade level. The error made it appear that the student was not at grade level. In fact, he was at grade level in reading and one or two grades above in vocabulary, language, and math.

Acknowledging this error, the SIC withdrew the improvident demand for remediation and gave us her assurance that she would send a follow-up letter to the family.

— by Scott A. Woodruff