For those using CPI Option 2 with Opt-In who have selected portfolio evaluation as their form of annual assessment
1. How do I find a teacher to review my child's portfolio? Any certified teacher can evaluate your child's portfolio as long as they are certified in the grade level of your child.
A portfolio evaluator who holds an elementary classroom endorsement may assess children in grades 1 through 6.
A portfolio evaluator who holds an elementary content endorsement may assess children in grades 1 through 8.
A portfolio evaluator who holds a secondary content endorsement may assess children in grades 5 through 12.
A person with a current substitute teacher’s license who produces evidence of a previously-held Iowa license with classroom or content endorsements may assess children within the same grade level restrictions as that of a person with a current Iowa license with classroom or content endorsements.
Make every effort to select a portfolio evaluator with an educational philosophy similar to your own. It is best to meet with your evaluator at the beginning of the school year to formulate a plan and come to an agreement on what items must be included in the portfolio. It is also wise, but not required that you meet with your evaluator during the year and make sure the work your child is doing is acceptable to the evaluator. You are required to obtain the approval of your school district's superintendent (or the superintendent's designee) for your selected portfolio evaluator. The NICHE Report of Portfolio Evaluator Selection Form can be used for this purpose. As long as the evaluator is certified for your child's grade level, there is no basis for the district to reject the teacher you have chosen. NICHE has also developed a Contract for Home School Portfolio Evaluation for you to use with your evaluator. This contract clearly delineates duties and responsibilities, and protects the privacy, of all parties involved.
2. What must be in a portfolio? A portfolio should include for each required subject area:
a book of lesson plans, a diary, or other written record indicating the subject matter taught and activities in which the child has been engaged,
an outline of the curriculum used by the child,
copies of any tests or other formal and informal assessment instruments used to measure student progress over the current academic year,
a copy of the baseline evaluation, and
the most recent assessment report of the student’s annual progress.
For each subject area to be evaluated, the portfolio shall include examples of the student’s work and may include self–assessments by the student. Be sure to date each representative sample so the evaluator has a chronological record of the student's work. You may include photographs or recordings of student projects or activities. Your portfolio evaluator will tell you if he or she needs additional items or information. Remember that the production of the portfolio must be completed and your portfolio evaluator must be approved by the resident school district superintendent (or his/her designee) by May 1. The teacher's evaluation of your child's portfolio must be completed and the portfolio evaluation report must be submitted to the resident school district by the parent by June 30. NICHE has developed the Report of Portfolio Assessment Results Form as a template for your evaluator to use when reporting portfolio evaluation results.
3. Do I have to do a baseline test before using the portfolio option? Until the revised homeschool administrative rules took effect in February of 2009, the Department of Education maintained that all children whose parents had selected the annual assessment option (either standardized testing, portfolio evaluation, or correspondence school reports) had to take a standardized test the first, or baseline, year. Under the revised rules, the first (or baseline) year's evaluation can be completed using any approved assessment tool. These include standardized testing, portfolio evaluation, or the submission of a report from an accredited correspondence school. If you have selected the portfolio evaluation method for your child's annual assessment, you can have a portfolio evaluation done the first year. The results of that portfolio evaluation will be filed as "baseline" results, to which subsequent year's evaluations will be compared. The "baseline" evaluation results are not used to determine whether or not your child is making educational progress.
4. What are the legal deadlines imposed upon portfolio evaluations?
May 1 and June 30 are the two deadline dates applied to portfolio evaluations in the Iowa Administrative Rules. Department of Education officials have clarified that:
- By May 1, the parent must have the portfolio completed and have arrangements made with a properly licensed portfolio evaluator who has received the approval of the resident school district's superintendent or the superintendent's designee.
- By June 30, the portfolio evaluation must be complete and the evaluator's report must be filed at the resident school district.
Keep in mind that portfolio evaluation falls under the annual assessment option in Iowa law -- which does not commence until the child is age 7. (Parents who select the portfolio evaluation option for 6 year old children for whom they are filing CPI forms do not need to have a portfolio of the child's work evaluated, nor do they need to submit any portfolio evaluation results at the end of the year.)
5. Where do I send my end-of-year portfolio evaluation results? The portfolio evaluation report should be sent to the school district in which the student's CPI form was filed by June 30. Check in your local phone book for the address of your local school district -- or look in the Department of Education's public school directory.
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