Many home schooling families have a difficult time securing achievement tests for their children in order to comply with legal requirements or in order to fulfill the family's own educational goals. HSLDA is pleased to announce that this school year its members will be able to obtain the Stanford Achievement Test from our office — FREE!
This program will be administered by our affiliate organization, the National Center for Home Education. Families who are not members of HSLDA will be able to obtain tests through the National Center for $20 per student.
There are rules which we must follow to assure testing security and accuracy. These are explained in the next column.
This testing program is being launched in response to a decision by the Psychological Corporation which determined that it could not longer sell its tests to home school suppliers. The Psychological Corporation was concerned that these suppliers were not following adequate procedures to guarantee that the tests were being administered properly. This company owns both the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) and the Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT).
Mike Farris approached a representative of the test supplier to see if an alternative program could be worked out to assure the company of testing accuracy and security, while preserving access of the home schooling community to these tests. The result of those discussions is the program we announce today.
We do not want anyone to mistake this program for a blanket endorsement of standardized testing. Such testing is overused and is often misused. We do not support provisions of laws which call for compulsory testing of all home school children. We simply want to be able to provide such testing for those families who desire or need these tests for their children.
We do believe that a large number of our members will take advantage of this free testing, and we expect that some non-members will also participate. This will give us the opportunity to gather continuing information about the testing record of a very large number of home schoolers. This information is likely to be very helpful in legislatures and in court in our ongoing battle to portray an accurate picture of the effectiveness of home education.
How We Will Meet the Testing Standards
The National Center will be taking the following steps of action to ensure test security and integrity:
- Provide a series of training seminars throughout the United States to train test administrators. We hope to work through the state organizations to identify qualified trainers so that the seminars can be held conveniently and frequently. Trainers must have a minimum of a Master's Degree in education or a related field and substantial experience in standardized student testing. Potential test administrators need only have a Bachelor's Degree in any field to qualify for receiving the training. The training seminars will cover all the details usually contained in similar sessions for public school personnel undertaking standardized testing programs.
- Provide a means for test administrators to certify their integrity in testing. Each test administrator will be required to sign a contract which, at a minimum, will provide an obligation to refrain from giving any test obtained from the National Center to his/her own children; an obligation to personally administer every test supplied by the National Center; and an obligation to refrain from giving any testing instrument obtained from the National Center to the parents of the student being tested or to the student other than in the course of the actual administration of the test.
- Arrange for official scoring services through The Psychological Corporation. The National Center will not distribute any answer keys to test administrators. All student answer keys and test booklets must be returned to the National Center within 30 days of the receipt of the instrument by the test administrator. Test results will be mailed directly to the parents of the students with a copy being provided to the test administrator.
How the Testing Program Will Work
If you decide you want your child(ren) to be tested with the Stanford Achievement Test, you will need to notify the National Center on the form which will be sent to you later in the fall. We will give you the names of qualified test administrators in your area. You will contact the one with whom you want to work and make arrangements for the test dates you desire. The administrator will then order the materials from the National Center, administer the test, and return it to the Center for scoring. We will send the test to The Psychological Corporation for computer scoring with the next batch of answer sheets. When the score reports are received, we will mail them to you.
Testing materials and scoring services will be made available to home schoolers at a fee of $20.00 per child. HSLDA members will receive the testing service at no cost to them. All recipients of the testing service materials and scoring will be responsible to work out appropriate fees for testing administration with their administrator.
If you wish to qualify as a test administrator or trainer of administrators, please indicate your desire in a written letter addressed to the National Center for Home Education, Attention: Testing Service. As soon as we are able to develop our schedule of seminars, we will make you aware of them in response to your letter.
God enabled us to get through the 1989–90 school year successfully. Nearly two thousand negative legal contacts were handled by the HSLDA legal staff, not counting the thousands of calls for legal advice. All of the contacts have been resolved, and a number of cases have been won. Of course, some cases are still pending or climbing the appeal ladder. Child welfare contacts were especially intense and frequent this year compared to years past. Yet, the Lord's hand has continued to protect the home schoolers.
Now we are approaching a new school year with promises of several fierce legal and legislative battles already brewing. It seems that the price for the freedom to home school will demand eternal vigilance. We thank all of our members for their support and desire to have “solidarity” with home schoolers throughout the country. We depend on many home schoolers joining us who are not likely to get into trouble in order to give us the financial basis and ability to defend those who are faced with restrictive state laws or local public school policies.
The National Center for Home Education has made a successful impact at the national level and has enabled much important information concerning home schooling to be distributed on a monthly basis among the state home school leaders. In addition, the Center's weekly monitoring of newly introduced legislation has helped the state leaders catch harmful legislation. Mike Farris's and Inge Cannon's tireless efforts in running the National Center have made many of these gains possible.
Be sure to note our most recent service which will be offered free to HSLDA members: standardized tests and scoring. We hope this will be of benefit to all.
We want to thank members for sending in news articles concerning home schooling in their state. Please keep those articles coming since they help us to keep current with events in your state.
Lastly, thanks for all your prayers for my wife, Tracy. At present, her disease is in remission and her pregnancy has been normal. We pray that God will continue to keep the disease in remission in order to prevent complications with the baby who is due in November.
CORRECTION: In the spring issue of the Home School Court Report, on page 17, we mistakenly referred to the Council for National Policy instead of the actual organization, the Council of Foreign Relations.