March 18, 2002

North Dakota DPI Ignores Federal Testing Exemption

In early March, a member family in the Minot area alerted Home School Legal Defense Association to an attempt by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to circumvent the new federal education law which exempts home schoolers from taking the state assessment tests.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry* of the Minot area were contacted by their local school on March 1, 2002, and informed that their daughter, who is in 4th grade, would have to take the North Dakota public school tests for reading and math. According to the school, the DPI is now requiring this of home schooled students as a supplement to standardized testing.

While North Dakota law does require home schooled students to test in 4th grade, the law does not force them to take the state's assessment tests, which are designed for public school students. In addition, a new federal law specifically exempts home schooled students from state tests used to measure public school performance.

HSLDA immediately wrote to the Minot-area school as well as the DPI, explaining that the law did not require home schoolers to take the state assessment tests. Instead, parents may choose to have their child take a nationally-normed standardized test, which is what Mr. and Mrs. Henry chose to do. The Henrys have not heard back from either the school or the North Dakota DPI.

The new federal law, drafted by HSLDA and passed last year as an amendment to HR. 1, prohibits any state receiving federal education funding, from requiring home schoolers to take any state testing designed assess public school achievement. For more information on H.R. 1 and this amendment, read "Final Education Bill Contains Protections for Home Schoolers" on our web site.

If you are an HSLDA member and you are told that your children must take a state assessment test not required by law, please contact our office so that we can assist you.

(*The family's name has been changed to protect their privacy.)