For those using CPI Option 2 with Opt-In who have selected standardized testing as their form of annual assessment
1. What are the guidelines for testing my child? Parents choosing the standardized testing option must:
Start the testing option when the child is 7 or older. (Parents who select the testing option for 6 year old children for whom they are filing CPI forms do not need to have the children tested, nor do they need to submit any test results at the end of the year.)
Choose a test from the list of approved tests published by the Department of Education or request special permission to use another test.
Arrange to have the child tested - either by the public school or privately - by May 1. Public schools must provide free testing for dual-enrolled students. Privately-procured testing is also available at a reasonable cost (see below).
Report the results to the resident school district by June 30.
Make special arrangements if the child does not make adequate progress: "Adequate progress" is defined as composite scores which are:
above the thirtieth percentile, nationally normed, in reading, mathematics, and language arts (for grades 1-5) or reading, mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies (for grades 6 & above), and which indicate
either that the child has made six months' progress from the previous evaluation results or that the child is at or above grade level for the child's age.
2. Do I have to test my student if I have retained the services a supervising teacher? You do not have to test your child if you have retained the services of a supervising teacher unless:
you have a privately-retained supervising teacher who requests testing. (Under this condition, the student's scores would only be reviewed by you and your privately-retained supervising teacher.)
you have a HSAP-provided supervising teacher who requires testing. (Under this condition, the student's scores would be available to you, your HSAP teacher, and the public school providing the HSAP services.)
3. What are the tests approved by the Iowa Department of Education? For the 2013-2014 school year, the Department of Education published a list of acceptable tests in its annual Competent Private Instruction Handbook. The list may be downloaded here. 2015-2016 List of Acceptable Tests
4. Can I use a test not listed on the Department of Education's list of approved tests? Yes, but you must first receive permission from the Department of Education prior to using the test.
5. Can I test my child using a different grade level of testing than the one that would normally be used for a child his age?
The Iowa Code states:
31.8(2) Standardized testing.
a.A child's parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian who chooses standardized testing for the purpose of fulfilling the assessment requirements of the law shall select an instrument approved by the department. The department shall publish an approved list of standardized testing instruments each year. In the event that the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child subject to the annual assessment requirement wishes to have the child take a standardized test not included on the department's published list, the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian shall request permission of the director of the department of education to use a different test. The decision of the director shall be final.Braille or large print editions of any approved test shall be made available for vision-impaired children. Testing norms are available for vision- and hearing-impaired children.
b.A child subject to the annual assessment requirement who takes a standardized test shall take a grade level form of the test that corresponds most closely to the child?s chronological age unless permission is granted by the test administrator to take another grade level form of the test. When a parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian requests another form of the test, the test administrator shall make a decision based upon the following:
(1) A review of the instructional materials used by the child in the education program;
(2) The results of curriculum?based measurement techniques including the administering of probes; and
(3) A review of current samples of the child?s work product.
The decision of the test administrator as to the appropriate grade level form of the standardized test to be taken shall be final.
You can see that the language above in bold print indicates that it is the test administrator who makes the decision. If you want to use a test that is for a younger or older student, you will need to talk with your test administrator who will use the above criteria to determine the appropriateness of the test you selected. That person's decision is final.
6. Can I test my own child? NICHE recommends that, if possible, you should have someone else test your child if you are going to submit scores as evidence of academic progress. This removes any shadows of doubt as to the reliability of the test results. The Iowa Administrative code does say: "If a student has been administered an approved standardized test by a correspondence or other school accredited by an accrediting agency approved by the federal department of education, or by any testing service authorized by the publisher of any test approved by the state department of education for assessment purposes during the academic school year for which testing is required, and the administration of the test has met the terms or protocol of the test publisher, a copy of the test result report, from which test results not required under law may be redacted, may be submitted to the resident district by the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of the child being tested, in satisfaction of the annual assessment option. The submitted test results shall be accompanied by a certification statement signed by the test administrator to the effect that the publisher's protocol or terms required for test administration have been met." Chapter 31.5(2)(c) This language suggests that as long as the parent tests the child according the test publisher's protocol, the scores can be submitted and must be accepted by the district. NICHE has produced a Test Administrator Certification Statement Form that can be used when submitting test scores under the Chapter 31.5(2)(c) provisions. 7. If I choose to procure testing privately, where can I purchase testing materials? Testing materials can be easily purchased from Bob Jones University Testing and Evaluation Service.
The available tests, the fees, and the test publisher's protocols are listed there. This site also gives very helpful information on interpreting test results and using these results to build a strong academic program for your student. Parents submitting privately-procured test results may use the Test Administrator Certification Statement Form when filing their test results with the resident school district.
8. How can I find someone to test my child privately? You need to find out what the test publisher requires of the examiner. Some test providers require that you use a certified teacher. Others want the examiner to have a bachelors degree or receive special training. This information is provided by the test publisher or the test provider. If you need a teacher to administer the test, we recommend that you find one through your local support group or call NICHE and ask for the name of a teacher in your area. Bob Jones University Testing Service also provides referrals to their approved test administrators. Check the FAQ page on their website listed above.
9. If I choose to have my child tested through the public school, does the school have to provide testing in my home? Under changes enacted in 2013, all Iowa school districts and AEAs must, if requested, administer annual achievement evaluations at no cost. Free standardized testing is no longer accessed through dual enrollment.
Chapter 31.8(2)(c) states that, by October 1, the school district must send home educating parents notification of all times and dates when standardized tests will be administered by the school district and the area education agency and notification "that a school district or area education agency will administer standardized tests at the child's home when so requested." If the child is dual-enrolled, there is no charge for the testing. If the child is not dual-enrolled, fees apply. This same section of the rules mandates that, by October 1, the school district must:
notify parents of the times and dates when standardized tests will be administered by the school district and the area education agency [AEA].
provide a data sheet showing the costs involved with testing offered by the school district or AEA. (If the child is dual-enrolled, there is no charge for the testing. If the child is not dual-enrolled, fees apply.)
provide a reply form to complete. This form allows parents choosing public school or AEA testing the opportunity to indicate the date, location, test, and grade-level test form they desire. It also allows parents to request that they be present during the testing and to make special requests, such as Braille or large print forms of tests.
10. What if my child's test results do not meet the legal standards for academic progress? "Adequate progress" means, for children in all grade levels of competent private instruction, evaluation scores which are above the thirtieth percentile, nationally normed, in each of the areas of reading, mathematics, and language arts, and which indicate either that the child has made six months' progress from the previous evaluation results or that the child is at or above grade level.
For children in grade levels six and above, "adequate progress" also means that the child has achieved evaluation scores in both science and social studies which are above the thirtieth percentile, nationally normed, and which either indicate that the child has made six months' progress from the previous evaluation results or that the child is at or above grade level. If a child's test scores do not indicate "adequate progress" under competent private instruction, the director of the department of education, or the director's designee, shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child that the child is required to attend an accredited public or non-public school, unless approval for competent private instruction under a remediation plan is granted. The director, or the director's designee, may provisionally approve continued competent private instruction under an approved remediation plan to improve instruction for up to one year. A child may be re-tested, but the test must be administered sufficiently in advance to allow for processing of the test results prior to the first day of classes of the succeeding school year. 11. Where do I send my end-of-year standardized test results?
By May 1, testing should be complete and the student's scores should be sent to your local school district by June 30. For the address of your local school district, check in the phone book or on the Department of Education's public school directory available on its website.
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