I was talking to a friend and he says all the kids in Florida have to take the FSA to get a diploma. But my kid is home schooled. Does my he need to take the FSA? – A skeptical dad
Well good for you dad–be skeptical and investigate for yourself. You might have heard that all students in Florida have to take and pass the FSA in order to get a diploma. While there are actually caveats to that overarching rule, it is true for most public school students. It is not true, however, for home school students.
Remembering that there are lots of different ways to “home school” in Florida, you first have to know exactly what form of home school your student does.
If your student is a home schooler registered with the state of Florida they can, but do not have to, take the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). According the Florida law “parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student’s demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability. The parent shall select the method of evaluation and shall file a copy of the evaluation annually with the district school superintendent’s office in the county in which the student resides.”
Guess what? The FSA does fit that requirement, and your local school district is required to make provision to test them. However it is not the only, and possibly not the best, option for your family.
Some students do great on tests, while others don’t show their full potential. Some students might not do well in a classroom of kids they don’t know, taking a test with a teacher they aren’t familiar with, while other kids wouldn’t be bothered at all. You know your kids and know what testing environment would work best for them.
Students can take any nationally-normed reference test accepted by their local school district. Most Florida districts are more than happy to take the results of the IOWA or Stanford assessment. Also, remember that you can also have a certified educator conduct a review of the portfolio of work produced by your student, and they can provide you with an affidavit which you can provide to your local school district. (You know that Education Revolution offers both of the services?)
If your student is “home schooled” but enrolled in a virtual or “umbrella” school like Education Revolution’s, they have to meet the requirements of that school in order to move forward academically. These requirements may, or may not, involve required standardized testing. You’d have to investigate the requirements of the specific one that you are enrolled in.
So be skeptical before you become anxious unnecessarily. Check out the requirements for your student’s educational path.