We’ve already discussed the elements that are required in the portfolio, including a log, samples of the child’s work and standardized test scores in grades 3, 5 and 8. One final element of the portfolio is a written evaluation.
The evaluation typically takes place in the spring as the home education program is wrapping up. The first step is to choose an evaluator who supports homeschooling, in general and will apply the appropriate standard of review when looking over the portfolio and interviewing your child. The second step is setting up a time for the evaluation to take place.
Choosing The Evaluator.
Neither the supervisor of a home education program nor a spouse may conduct the evaluation for his own student(s).
The law defines 3 categories of professionals who are legally qualified to conduct an evaluation of the portfolio: 1) a licensed clinical or school psychologist; 2) a Pennsylvania certified teacher; 3) a nonpublic school teacher or administrator with at least 2 years of teaching experience in a Pennsylvania public or nonpublic school within the last 10 years.
A teacher or administrator who evaluates a portfolio at the elementary level (grades K-6) must have at least two years of experience in grading any of following subjects: English; arithmetic; science; geography; history and civics. Likewise, a teacher or administrator who evaluates a portfolio at the secondary level (grades 7-12) must have at least 2 years of experience in grading any of the following subjects: English, including language, literature, speech, reading and composition; science, including biology, chemistry and physics; geography; social studies, including economics, civics, history; foreign language; and mathematics, including general math, algebra, trigonometry, calculus and geometry.
“Grading” as used in the clause means evaluation of class work, homework, quizzes, class work-based tests and prepared tests related to the classwork subject matter.
Finally, at the request of the supervisor, persons with other qualifications may conduct the evaluation with the prior consent of the district of residence superintendent. My district has accepted evaluations from homeschool parents who are well-informed about the homeschool law, so long as they are not providing evaluations for their own children. This would be the most common situation. Other persons who might also get approval from the superintendent, any of whom might be a family member or friend, are; a child development specialist, a speech pathologist, a tutor-even if not certified; a coach with a degree related to one of the subjects listed above; a person with college teaching experience; a music teacher with a degree in one of the subjects listed above and who has lots of experience with your child. These are just examples.
Most people know a teacher or have a teacher in the family with the experience required by the statute. This is a great choice especially if she generally supports your decision to homeschool. If you don’t know a teacher or administrator or would rather not have that person conduct the evaluation, other homeschoolers in your area should be able to help you find a qualified evaluator. You can ask the school district for a referral but they may or may not be helpful. A quick google search for homeschool groups in your city or region should generate a contact of someone who can refer a list of evaluators.
I may be able to direct you to some resources to find an evaluator. Just click on the contact tab and either fill out the form or shoot me an email.