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West Virginia


March 8, 2016

Homeschooling in West Virginia: What Just Changed with H.B. 4175?

When does House Bill 4175 take effect? H.B. 4175 takes effect May 23, 2016, 90 days from passage.

I homeschool under the “approval” option rather than the “notification” option. What changes for me? The only change that applies to students being instructed under the approval option is that they cannot be prosecuted for truancy. See “truancy” question below.

Can my homeschooled child be prosecuted for truancy? No. H.B. 4175 states that a child excused from compulsory attendance for homeschooling is not subject to prosecution for failure to attend school.

Can the school district tell me I can’t homeschool my child? Under the notice option the school does not approve a homeschooling notice. However, if a superintendent has probable cause he may seek an order from the circuit court. The circuit court is only allowed to issue an order denying home instruction if it has been shown clear and convincing evidence that the child will suffer neglect in his or her education or that there are other compelling reasons to deny home instruction.

Who must notify? The parent of a child of compulsory school age receiving home instruction must provide an initial notification to the county superintendent or county board.

Do I have to notify every year? No. H.B. 4175 removed the annual notification requirement.

Do I have to wait two weeks before starting to homeschool? No. H.B. 4175 removed the unconstitutional two-week waiting period for a child being withdrawn from public school. Under the revised law, a parent simply provides the notification on or before the date home instruction is to begin.

What is included with the homeschool notification? The name, address, and age of any child of compulsory attendance age to be instructed. Assurance that the child will be instructed and assessed annually in reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies. Evidence of the instructor’s education. HSLDA will provide a form for HSLDA members to insure they are complying with the notice requirement. This form will be available when the law goes into effect. HSLDA will notify our members when this form is available.

What if I move to another county? The home instructor must notify the previous county superintendent of the move and submit a new notice of intent to the superintendent of the new county of residence.

What if I stop homeschooling? The home instructor must notify the county superintendent of the termination of home instruction for a child who is of compulsory attendance age.

Do I still have to have a high school diploma? Not necessarily. The home instructor must have a high school diploma or equivalent or a post-secondary degree or certificate from a regionally accredited institution or from a higher education institution authorized to confer a post-secondary degree or certificate in West Virginia by the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education or by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. If you have questions about whether your educational background qualifies we urge you to consult HSLDA.

Does my homeschool high school diploma count? Yes. Last year West Virginia passed a diploma fairness bill that states a homeschool diploma demonstrates that a person has a high school diploma or its equivalent.

I’m already homeschooling this year. Do I still have to notify for the 2016-2017 school year? Yes. The information required on the notification has changed, and the bill will not take effect until May 23.

Do I still have to assess my students annually? Yes. Homeschooled students must be assessed annually in the areas of reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Do I have to submit the assessment to the local superintendent? Yes, but not annually as before. Under the new law the parent or legal guardian must submit the results of the academic assessment to the superintendent for grades 3, 5, 8, and 11.

When do I have to submit assessments? The assessments must be submitted by June 30 of the year they are administered for 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 11th grades. How long do I have to keep assessment results? A parent or legal guardian must maintain copies of the academic assessment for three years.

Do I still have the portfolio option? Yes. Parents still have the same 4 assessment options: 1) a nationally normed standardized achievement test 2) the current state testing program 3) certified teacher portfolio review 4) an alternative assessment mutually agreed upon by the parent and superintendent.

Can I test my own children this year? A parent must be qualified under a test publisher’s guidelines. Parents are prohibited from administering the standardized achievement test until the law takes effect May 23, 2016.

Can I test my own children next year? A parent who meets the test publisher’s guidelines may test his own child. H.B. 4175 removed the prohibition on parents administering standardized tests to their children, effective May 23, 2016.

Do I have to submit assessments this year? Since H.B. 4175 becomes effective May 23, 2016, you will only need to provide assessment results by June 30, 2016, for a child in 3rd, 5th, 8th, or 11th grades.

What is acceptable progress? Acceptable progress on the standardized achievement test is met when the mean of the child’s test results in the required subject areas for any single year 1) is within or above the 4th stanine (23rd percentile or above) or 2) if below the 4th stanine, improvement from the previous year’s results. The new law changed the testing result from 50th percentile to 23rd percentile. Acceptable progress for the state testing is based on current state testing program guidelines. Acceptable progress for the portfolio is that the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities.

My student didn’t make acceptable progress. What do I do? Contact HSLDA for advice specific to your situation.