Old books

A homeschool family in New York has fought off a threat from their local school district to put them on probation because of the daughter’s problematic test scores.

One of the reasons is that there was no problem with the scores.

The report comes from Tj Schmidt at the Home School Legal Defense Association, which as an advocate for homeschoolers worldwide regularly deals with such scenarios.

Schmidt explained JoAnn Tippins got a letter from the City School District of Albany delivering the warning.

“JoAnn sent me a copy of the letter from the director of pupil personnel services. It stated (and this exactly how it appeared):” he wrote.

“In the 2017-2018 school year your child’s test results should have been commensurate with those of an 9th graders. The results on The Iowa Test indicates s/he is testing below an 9th grade level in more than one subject.”

Officials explained the family had to be on probation for two years.

“The director went on to inform Mr. and Mrs. Tippins that by June 18 ‘you are required to submit a plan of remediation which addresses the deficiencies in your child’s achievement,'” Schmidt explained.

But when he looked it up he found that a student’s score “shall be deemed adequate” if it is above the 33rd percentile on national tests.

“JoAnn also sent me a copy of her daughter’s Iowa Test results, which showed that she had received a composite percentile score of 48 – which was more than adequate,” Schmidt reported.

Phone tag ensued, with Schmidt calling the director of pupil personnel services, and a lawyer for the district calling back later.

“I then left a detailed message stating that a homeschool student who receives a composite score at the 48th percentile cannot be put on probation. I also pointed out that the New York State Education Department, in its Home Instruction Questions and Answers, states that a ‘student’s score on individual test subscores should not be considered in determining whether the program should be placed on probation,'” he reported.

It seems that the district had had some staff turnover and “the person in the office reviewing homeschool programs was relatively new in the position,” he said.

He said the district assured him that the letter was in error and the family would be told that.

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