Why eliminate homeschool testing?
By: Deborah Keller
Apr-13

Subject: Why exempt Oregon homeschoolers from testing?

Analysis: OCEANetwork has two bills in the Oregon legislature that eliminate testing requirements for homeschoolers (SB 809 and HB 3446).

Why do we care? What is wrong with testing? Absolutely nothing. Testing is a tool for measuring academic progress. It can identify a child's strengths and weaknesses. It can help us to improve teaching strategies and/or modify curriculum choices.

However, Oregon's homeschool law which uses testing as a tool to determine who can and cannot homeschool is unbiblical, ineffective, and unfair.

1. Unbiblical. The decision for when and how to raise our children, including choices about their eduction, belongs to us as parents. God gives us this mandate in His Word.

  • Bring [your children] up in the nurture and admonition of the (Lord. Eph. 6:4). 
  • Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey his servants ye are to whom ye obey? (Rom. 6:16). 
  • Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29 2).    
  • 2. Ineffective.  Testing has no correlation with academic achievement.  Homeschooled children excel because they are homeschooled, not because they are tested.

  • Purpose of Oregon’s testing law:  To make test scores available to local ESDs.
  • Actual percentage of scores requested by ESDs:  11-15%
  • Why only 11-15%?
  • ESDs have learned that homeschool students score an average of two grades above their age level.
  • ESDs receive no funding for homeschoolers, and they have no funds to spare.
  • Therefore, 85-90% of homeschoolers test for no bureaucratic reason under the current law.
  • 3. Unfair. 

    Children on the lowest end of the scale are the ones who benefit most from homeschooling.  Unfortunately, they are the most at risk under Oregon’s current law.  The struggling learners benefit most from homeschooling’s one-on-one attention and parental involvement.  Statistics show that homeschooling is the most effective method for students in every academic range.  Unfortunately, students who score in the lowest 15% can be sent back to public school if their scores don’t improve within two years.

    The majority of homeschooled children perform an average of two years above grade level.  These high-achievers, however, are required to take tests based on their grade level by age, not their academic level.  This is not an efficient use of parents’ time and money.

    Conclusions: 

  • If parents wish to test their children, there is nothing prohibiting us from doing so. 
  • Parents should spend their time, money, and resources to test their children in the manner of their choosing, not according to a one-size-fits all schedule or method. 
  • Parents are accountable to God for the education and upbringing of their children.
  • 85-89% of Oregon’s homeschooling families are spending time and money they don’t have to administer tests that their children don’t need just to fulfill the law.
  • Children on the lowest end of the academic scale are paying the ultimate price:  They are sent back to public school and denied the one academic choice that ensures them the highest opportunity for success.
  • Summary of Oregon’s current homeschool testing law:

  • All homeschool students in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 are required to take achievement tests.
  • Parents must submit test scores to their local ESD if requested.
  • Students scoring below the 15th percentile and declining for 2 consecutive years may be remanded to an institutional school by the ESD Superintendent.
  • (See ORS 339.035).

     


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