November 19, 2006

Arkansas: Comparing Homeschool and Public School Test Scores

Interesting news about test scores and homeschool politics in the state of Arkansas (where we currently live) is below. All highlighting within the article is my emphasis. My notes fall between broken sections of the article (in different font):

The Arkansas Home Scholar Online

Mike Beebe has said that he is not going to pick a fight with the home schoolers, but considering the story in Tuesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette you would think the fight has already begun. However, I wouldn’t blame Governor-elect Beebe for this particular slap at home schoolers.

On Monday the issue of home school testing was discussed at a meeting of the State Board of Education. What would normally have been a “ho-hum” approval of a stack of various reports from several departments within the State Department of Education turned into a long discussion about the number of Arkansas home schoolers who reportedly did not take the state-mandated Iowa Test of Basic Skills in 2006.

In among a stack of routine reports was a report from the state home school office indicating that about 3 out of 10 Arkansas home schoolers failed to take the state-mandated test. This represents about 2,000 students. Cynthia Howell, a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, covered the meeting and her story about the home school report and the Board’s discussion of it appeared on the front page of Tuesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

When questioned by the Board, State Education Director Dr. Ken James listed four or five legitimate reasons that home schoolers may not have taken the test. In addition, he pointed out that his office did not have adequate funding or enough staff to manage the increased number of home schoolers that are required to test and that they hoped to do better in 2007. However, most people who don’t know any better are likely to read the newspaper story and come away with a negative opinion of home schoolers.
Before anyone jumps to conclusions about the evil homeschoolers trying to skip out of testing... let me assure you, there are MANY more issues here that the state is not bringing up (for obvious reasons). Here's our inside and HONEST story about our testing adventure in 2006:

We moved to Arkansas after school began in 2005. Coming from a state (Texas) that had no testing laws due to the fact that it is a PARENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO EDUCATE THEIR OWN CHILDREN, I was very upset when I was forced to sign forms for the school district so that I could legally homeschool in Arkansas. I felt that this violated my privacy and God-given rights. Never-the-less, being the law-abiding and upright citizen that I am (as most homeschoolers are), I drove down to the superintendent's office and filled out my paperwork as soon as we got settled in our apartment. I was surprised that I never got any follow-up paperwork in the mail. If I had not been involved in homeschool groups that were receiving correspondence, I would NEVER HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THE TEST DATES. After a homeschool friend notified me that her letter for choosing a testing site had already been delivered to her, I CALLED the homeschooling office. I was assured that forms would be mailed to me. None came. My friend notified me that the date for her county had been changed and another letter had come to her. Since I still had not received word, I was not sure if my dates had been moved as well. Beginning to get concerned, (only weeks away from the testing date) I CALLED AGAIN. The nice man working for the state got my email address and allowed me to set up a testing site via email and apologized for the LACK OF ORGANIZATION.

A lot of my issues with the testing accusations in this article are not just from my dealings with the superintendent's office or even the Arkansas Home School Testing Office, however. To be fair, some of the blame may lie with the testing publishers themselves. After my child took the required tests, I was told that my results would arrive in the mail in six to eight weeks. Mind you, this was early April! I was hoping to get a look at them before ordering curriculum for the following school year. After months went by, I contacted the homeschool office for the state and was put off again. "Tests will arrive in June" they said. June came and went. In July, I called again. A few of my friends had their scores back already. They weren't sure what happened to my child's scores. Not only that, but there were many other parents who's children's scores were missing as well. I was told that my name would be put on a "list that the publisher and grader of the tests were - checking in to". After this, I found out that ALL of the tests had been graded improperly. Because the test was a "complete battery", the scores for math, reading, grammar, science and social studies should have been on the score sheets. Arkansas or the testing company had returned scores to MOST parents (I had not gotten mine yet) that only included grades for Math and Reading. All of the scores were then scheduled by the state to be re-calculated and re-sent to parents. I called again to make sure they knew that I still had not gotten my first set of test scores so they wouldn't forget to send the second set. By now, I'm sure they were sick of hearing from me. August came, and I began calling weekly after hearing my friends had gotten their second set of scores. Finally, in the last week of August (after public schools had already returned to full-time classes), my scores came (the second set). Some time during September, I got the first set of test scores with an improper address (forwarded to me by my apartment complex manager).

All in all, you could summarize my first testing experience in Arkansas as exasperating. If anyone else had the same experiences I did, I don't blame them for "skipping" the tests (assuming that any of them actually did).

2. While there may be a small number of home schoolers who refuse to take the state-mandated test, most home schoolers are doing a great job, otherwise how could home school students have outperformed their public school counterparts on standardized test every year for 21 years in a row?
Ok, now if you want to get down to the real nitty-gritty... here's the proof in the pudding of homeschool testing: THE SCORES. Homeschooling WORKS. This is why the lawmakers, school board officials, and public school advocates are trying to hard to enact laws and regulations... more testing, harder testing.... smaller and higher hoops to jump through. THEY are afraid homeschooling is going to continue to grow and funding is going to drop for their precious public schools. This, folks, is the REAL issue. Money and power for public school bureaucrats.

3. The State Board of Education and the Department of Education needs to concentrate on improving public education. Over half of our public school graduates who go to college have to take remedial classes and entire public school districts are in academic distress. Why focus so much attention on such a small number of students who receive no public funding?
FEAR, I guess. Jealousy? Doesn't make logical sense to anyone willing to really look at the issue and read between the lines, does it?

4. Ten school districts across the state have failed to meet even minimum state standards for the past two years. They face state sanctions if they don’t improve. Since we have entire school districts that are failing, why would the State Board of Education spend so much time trying to fix what may prove to be a mostly imaginary home school problem.

What You Can Do:

1. Pray for the success of home schooling in Arkansas.
2. Make a generous donation to the Education Alliance. We are working to protect your right to home school and your donations keep us in the fight. Click here to donate or mail a check to the Education Alliance at 414 South Pulaski, Suite 9, Little Rock, AR 72201.
3. Be prepared to call your state legislators and ask them to support home schooling.
4. Be prepared to come to the State Capitol to make your voice heard if bad home school legislation is introduced.
5. Forward this e-mail and encourage your friends and ask them to do the same.
Definitely pass this on to all of your Arkansas homeschooling buddies and anyone interested in the gritty facts behind tainted homeschooling media attention. See below for the liberal slant of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (notice that ugly title... just who's SHORT here?):

Here is the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Story:


By Cynthia Howell
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Seven out of every 10 Arkansas home-schooled students in grades three through nine took at least a part of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills last spring as required by state law.

That leaves more than 2,000 test-eligible students unaccounted for in state records and potentially truant - unless they were tested by an agency outside the state, were exempted from standardized testing because of a handicap, moved out of state, enrolled midyear in a public or private school or couldn't take a test because there weren't enough tests for everyone last spring, state education officials said.
WOW. That's a long list of reasons why a person might be exempt. Funny how they don't do the research first before they accuse homeschoolers of being dirty handed and in danger of truancy violation. Maybe they should find out the specifics and do some research before printing an article in the paper!?

Arkansas Education Commissioner Ken James told the state Board of Education on Monday that officials are taking steps to refine the administration of the standardized tests to home-schoolers, but the home-schooling system in general doesn't legally provide for much state oversight.

"In terms of monitoring, there is very little monitoring," James said in response to questions from board members.

"We don't have a whole home-school unit. We have a very small operation. We contract out with one of the local education cooperatives [to administer the testing], and we are adding two support staff members to that cooperative to get better control of it. But we don't collect a lot of data, and that's really how this whole thing was designed."

As for who is responsible for finding registered homeschooled students who apparently didn't take the state required test, James said that's the role of superintendents.

"It does happen," James said at a break in the meeting. "It happens in places where the superintendents are pretty aggressive and stay on top of it. That's not a criticism of the rest of them, but it also gets to the point that a prosecuting attorney must weigh, 'Do I gear up and go after this with the other things I'm dealing with in terms of cases?' What are the priorities? Local superintendents have to push the local prosecuting attorneys."
Looks like they admit they are short-handed and not in control... maybe that is why my superintendent's office never sent me any paperwork to begin with. I agree that they need more staffing... if they want to continue to monitor homeschoolers - which in and of itself is not necessary.... see state laws in Texas and Oklahoma for example. Colleges eventually test students for entry, so why should the state feel responsible to test homeschooled kids when they are not the ones who are responsible for their education? HomeSCHOOL is the parent's responsibility... and who better to be responsible than the people who love the child most?!

I felt sorry for the guy who had to take all my phone calls when the ball kept getting dropped. It didn't seem fair to work those people so hard. I want everyone to know 'on the record' that of all the people I've been in contact with (including the superintendent of my district and the state homeschooling oversight employees), they have all been very polite and have tried to be helpful. I certainly do NOT have a beef with anyone personally, but rather how the media, lawmakers, and school board officials are treating homeschoolers in general. I don't see that in a FREE country, your children should be parented in any way, shape or form BY THE STATE. Government interference and strict regulations are destruction of my rights as an American, a parent, and a person.

After more than two decades of growing by hundreds of students nearly every year, the number of Arkansas' homeschooled students fell slightly in the last year, 2005-06, to 13,814 students.

"There is a slight dip this year, but it is too early to read anything into it," said Julie Johnson Thompson, a spokesman for the Education Department. "It could be a fluctuation or it could be the beginning of a new trend." The number decreased by 159 students from the previous year's count of 13,973.
If you go by my opinion, I'd say people left because they wanted to homeschool in freedom in many of the homeschool-friendly neighboring states. The housing market is over-inflated here as well (especially when the annual income average here is so low and the taxes are so high). Arkansas is the second highest taxed state population in America. I know that if I had the choice to move from here, I would. It has nothing to do with the nice people and lovely scenery... it has everything to do with surviving financially - especially in a ONE income family - like most homeschoolers are.

Home schools are defined in Arkansas Code Annotated 6-15-501 through 6-15-508 as schools primarily conducted by parents or legal guardians for their own children. Home schooling has been legally recognized in Arkansas since the early 1980s. Parents notify the state and their local public school district of their intentions to home-school, as well as follow state requirements for the state testing of their children.
I find it interesting that they say homeschooling has only been legal since 1980. I am sure there were scores of pioneers homeschooling their children here for many, many years - long before the term "homeschooling" was coined.

Refusal by a home-schooling family to abide by the reporting and testing requirements can result in the application of the state's school truancy law in which parents can be fined for failing to send their children to school.

In the 2005-06 school year, there were 7,056 home-schooled students in grades three through nine who, like their public school counterparts, were required to take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

At least 5,028 home-schooled students took at least a portion of the battery of Iowa tests at the 42 testing centers and 22 alternate sites in March, Bill Ballard, state coordinator of home-school testing, said Monday.

The number of students tested, he said, doesn't include special education home-schooled students whose individual education plans preclude testing or students who arranged to receive their Iowa test from an outside agency such as Bob Jones University in South Carolina.
WAIT JUST A MINUTE! So... you have 7,056 homeschoolers in grades 3-9 that need to test. 5,028 turn up for testing. They say that 2,028 students are "in truancy violation" for not testing... yet they list a bunch of reasons WHY those students MAY OR MAY NOT be exempt from testing (even though they have not researched if any of the students were exempt), and THEN they say that the NUMBER OF STUDENTS TESTED (5,028) DOES NOT INCLUDE special education homeschoolers or those who arranged to take the test from an outside agency.

There you have it. The number of homeschoolers tested is not legitimate! I know of entire co-ops of students who opted to test through outside agencies! Those are large groups that would be added to the list of those who followed the law and tested like they were supposed to! All of the sudden, this article seems to be complete fiction, rather than unbiased fact.

The home-schooling tests are scored by the same company that scores the public school tests. The results are mailed to the parents of the home-schooled children, Ballard said. The state receives only a grade-by-grade summary and no individual results.

Ballard and the Arkansas Home School Testing Office are based at the Arch Ford Education Services Cooperative in Plumerville. That home-schooling office, which just expanded to a staff of three, has grown into the position of administering the test for the state's 14 other cooperatives and the three Pulaski County school districts.
Like I said, they are understaffed!

Until recently, the tests were given only in three grades and took one day, he said. Starting last year, seven grades were given the whole battery of Iowa tests, taking each student three days to complete.

"If a superintendent calls and asks for the record for his students - who tested and who didn't - our position is to let them know," Ballard said. "So far there haven't been many to do that, but we would let them know."

With the exception of third- and fourth-graders, homeschooled students who took the Iowa tests earned higher composite scores than their public school peers.

Sixth-, seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-graders in home schools scored at the 58th percentile, which was six to nine percentile points higher than public school students. Fifth-grade homeschooled test-takers scored at the 63rd percentile compared with the 58th percentile for the public school students.

On the other hand, public school third-graders scored at the 62nd percentile, one point better than the home-schooled students. Both home-schooled and public school fourth-graders scored at the 61st percentile.

The 50th percentile is considered the national average on the Iowa test, which compares the performance of Arkansas students to a national sample of students who took the same test. A total of 342,284 public school students in kindergarten through ninth grade took the Iowa test last spring.

Home-schoolers are not required to take the Arkansas Benchmark and End-of-Course tests that public school students take. Those Arkansas tests are frequently given greater weight in the public schools because the results are used to determine whether a student needs an individual academic improvement plan and whether a school has met state achievement goals and can avoid sanctions prescribed in the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Private school students are not required to take any of the exams mandated by state law for public school students, nor do parents have to notify the state of their child's enrollment in a private school.
Amazingly, third and fourth graders for the first time in 21 years actually were a point behind on average than the public schoolers (but of course, this average is not really a final average since there are many homeschool tests that have not been shared with the state - due to homeschoolers using outside testing agencies such as Bob Jones). It took them 21 years to finally get a class of homeschool students who scored as low as the public schoolers. And I wonder if my son's scores were included in the mix (since it took them until September to mail the first set of results to me and he scored in the 98th - national percentile for 3rd Grade).

Dr. Ben Mays, a state Education Board member from Clinton, asked James on Monday about making comparisons between public and home-schooled students' test scores.

"If a large portion of the home-school students don't show up to take the test, we can't give much validity to the results," Mays said.

What a joke. Again, this is a slap at homeschoolers and a lack of taking any responsibility for the poor management of the testing job the state has taken on. Rather than admit that their testing management was a flop, they say that homeschoolers are slackers (too lazy to show up) or criminals (refuse to test). Rather than find out what happened to the people who didn't test and review the records to see if they had other arrangements or were exempt, they offer fabricated numbers to the press in hopes of gathering public distaste. Believe me... there is an agenda here.

State board member Mary-Jane Rebick of Little Rock asked that the board hold a work session in the near future on issues related to home schooling.

Twenty years ago, in 1985-86, the number of Arkansas homeschooled children was 572. Ten years ago, the number had jumped to 5,755, and five years later it was up to 11,871. If the current number of home-schoolers comprised a public school district, that district would be among the state's 10 largest systems, bigger last year than each of the North Little Rock, Conway or Fayetteville school districts.
Arkansas has a sparse population. If you really look at the facts in the above paragraph you will understand that homeschooling is not a fringe group. In this state, homeschooling makes up a group of children that would rival a very large school district (in the top 10 as far as population goes). Even so, when the test scores come in and are compared, the officials are forced to come up with fluff for the press to explain away the consistent underperformance of public school kids when tested against homeschool children. Even without the extra 2,000 children testing... an adequate sample has been obtained to show that there is no reason for concern for the children who are being educated outside of the public school system.

Every Arkansas county and every public school district reported some home school students. Pulaski County reported the largest number, 1,730. That was followed by Benton County with 1,403, and Washington County with 1,007. Within Pulaski County, there were 990 home school students living in the Pulaski County Special School District, 596 living in the Little Rock School District and 144 in the North Little Rock district.

Click here to find out more about the Education Alliance

The Education Alliance
414 S. Pulaski St.
Suite 9
Little Rock, AR 72201

Phone: (501) 978-5503
Visit Our Website!
I hope that if you read this article, you will see that sometimes what you read in the newspaper or see on CNN is not exactly truth. Dig deeper and listen to both sides. Hopefully the rise in homeschooling numbers indicates that there really is a large number of imaginative and 'independent thinkers' out there in the America who desire to educate their kids to think for themselves. Test scores can't tell you everything, but they can give you a limited glimpse of the truth for comparison purposes. The problem is that some people don't want to make comparisons because their accusations and assumptions are incorrect - and the test scores SHOW it.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Green Darner said...


(I posted a response to this at Spunky's but thought I would go ahead and repost it here)

I am an Arkansas homeschooler, and the article in the news you refer to was a hatchet job to put homeschoolers in a bad light. We just had a "changing of the guard" in the election in our state and they don't seem favorable to homeschooling.

Here is Education Alliance's (our statewide homeschool advocacy group) response to the article:

We have been aware for several weeks that lawmakers hostile to home schooling were gathering testing information that makes home schoolers look bad. A few weeks ago, we reviewed information from the same report that the Board discussed on Monday. We do not believe the report accurately reflects what’s happening with home school testing. When the State Board of Education increased both the number of grades and the size of the test, they overwhelmed the Department of Education’s ability to manage testing. While the Department of Education stands by their report stating that 2,000 home schoolers didn’t test, we believe the number is much lower.

Here is what this means. This provides lawmakers who don’t like home schooling with more reasons to introduce legislation to regulate all home schoolers. For years, a small handful of lawmakers have wanted to enact more regulation on home schoolers. Mike Huckabee held many of those lawmakers at bay by simply informing them that he would be displeased if they did anything to harm his home school friends. I do not expect Mike Beebe to stand up for home schoolers the way Mike Huckabee did. While he won’t be picking any fights, he may not stop anyone else from attacking home schoolers. If a bill that we consider bad for home schooling reaches his desk, I believe Beebe will sign it into law. One saving grace may be the large number of conservatives on the House Education Committee. Their presence may make it difficult for opponents of home schooling to have their way.

Here are our answers to the charges that home schoolers are evading state-mandated testing:

1. Home schooling has grown so rapidly over the past 5 years and testing requirements have increased so much that the Arkansas Department of Education has not been able to keep up with the workload. This year, some testing sites were not secured until days before the test was to be given. In the confusion, lots of home schoolers were simply lost. This is the primary reason that this year’s report misrepresents the number of home schoolers who did not take the test. We believe they will do a better job in 2007.

2. While there may be a small number of home schoolers who refuse to take the state-mandated test, most home schoolers are doing a great job, otherwise how could home school students have outperformed their public school counterparts on standardized test every year for 21 years in a row?

Green Darner said...

3. The State Board of Education and the Department of Education need to concentrate on improving public education. Over half of our public school graduates who go to college have to take remedial classes and entire public school districts are in academic distress. Why focus so much attention on such a small number of students who receive no public funding?

4. Ten school districts across the state have failed to meet even minimum state standards for the past two years. They face state sanctions if they don’t improve. Since we have entire school districts that are failing, why would the State Board of Education spend so much time trying to fix what may prove to be a mostly imaginary home school problem.

Sprittibee said...

Green Darner... I am glad you stopped in, but if you check back in my original post on this... all of the information you provided is there. You actually have copied a large part of the stuff I already posted and commented on in my article. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting article and analysis. I've homeschooled a couple of my kids for short periods of time, but I'm not as anti-public school as you are. I think that public schools are the great equalizer--if you choose to work hard, public schools give you a chance. Today in the adult ESL class I teach at a community college, four of my students were pulled out for testing, so I talked at length with the remaining student. He told me that he can't read well because he had to drop out of school after the third grade and go to work because schools in Mexico aren't free. He has a legal visa to work in the U.S., and he sends the money home to his family. Every one of his kids is in school, and two will soon graduate from high school because he can afford to pay for their education. Public schools will always have lower scores because they include *everyone*--the kids whose parents abuse them, kids who don't get to eat breakfast or lunch except at school, kids who don't speak English, and kids (like mine) who generally excel and score in the top percentile of national tests. My sons have amazing teachers. I view myself as my teachers' partner. I communicate with them every week and I volunteer a lot. I give presentations for 3rd, 5th, 7th, and high school students. I work three afternoons a week with 5th grade band students. I'm grateful for the homeschooling movement because it allowed me to homeschool my children when I needed to, but I'm also grateful for strong public schools, and I try to do my part to make them stronger so that all kids, including those whose parents can't afford to purchase a curriculum or have one parent at home to homeschool, have opportunities to learn.

Melissa Stover said...

i'm going to link to this on the arkansas blog. i was glad to hear about your experience with the testing. my daughter will be taking it for the first time this year. and i agree with you that it is all on us to seek out and get information about such things as testing and even things available to homeschooling. wouldn't it be nice if when you signed up to homeschool with your public school that they would automatically send that info to education alliance or home ed so you could start getting the proper info. i had to stumble along in the dark for a while and talk to other homeschoolers before i figured it all out. well, i still haven't figured it all out.

Green Darner said...


Sorry for duplicating much of your post but the way that you wrote it made it confusing to differentiate between the article in the newspaper and Education Alliance's response to it.

Jennifer said...

great article! I enjoyed reading and it and look forward to reading more of your blog

Sprittibee said...

Jude: I do NOT have a problem with public school as an option for children who's parents wish to put them there, nor do I look down on those who have to make that choice. One of my best friends that lives out of state has recently been forced to make that choice after a divorce (even though her kids have always been homeschooled). Like I have said many times, my family has a long list of public school teachers, administrators, and advocates. I know that there are still good things happening in some classrooms with some teachers. The sad thing is, it is not the "norm" anymore. I also agree that scores are more likely to be lower due to a lot of social issues in the public schools (children in bad home-situations), but I don't buy the financial arguments. There are some homeschooling families with hardly enough to eat just like there are with the public schools. Living on one income is not easy. Many people who are homeschooling are doing so in the face of severe financial hardships. I don't feel like the public schools are my enemy... but I do often feel like the liberal lawmakers, public school officials, and media ARE. Trying to make homeschoolers into thugs with poorly written, biased, un-researched and non-factual press coverage is HOSTILE and PROVOKING. If they don't want homeschoolers to feel intimidated and view public school as an enemy, they should quit picking on us. They should be happy for us that our kids are thriving and testing well. My point in this article was not bashing public schoolers... but in pointing out that the media has a serious bias and school officials have an agenda by leaking bad info to the press.

Chickadee: Thanks for the link. The actual testing last year was no big deal for my son. He aced the test and actually enjoyed getting "off" of school for three days. My daughter is actually a year ahead of her peers (she's 7 and in 3rd Grade instead of 2nd), so I asked her this year before I filled out my forms if she wanted me to let her be a "second grader on paper" so she wouldn't have to take the state mandated tests this year (so she could take them next year with her age group). She said "NO! I want to take the test!" So this year, both my kids will be testing if we are still in Arkansas. If we do move away before Spring, I will be sure to notify the testing office in writing, email and by phone - so they can't say they don't know why I didn't show up for their silly tests! If I get home to Texas before the Spring, we'll be taking the FREE, ONLINE Texas standardized tests (linked in my sidebar) - the TAKS or TAAS. We did those every year at home (no government intrusion necessary).

Green Darner: No problem. I realize that I didn't set the article up in a way that was easily understood... but wasn't sure how else to do it with that many comments to make. I wanted to place comments next to the areas in the articles where they applied.

Jennifer: Thanks for stopping by! Are you an Arkansas homeschooler?

Anonymous said...

Well, perhaps the dip is related to Arkansas Virtual School?


Jennifer said...

no I homeschool in NC :)

Anonymous said...


I can concur completely with your reasoning behind the number of homeschoolers in Arkansas dropping for the first time last year. Many are voting with their feet. My family has made the decision to move to Oklahoma rather than submit to this assault on our God given freedom as parents.

I am also disappointed with Arkansas Education Alliance's weak kneed response to the state by willing to compromise other homeschoolers' freedoms for the sake of those who "comply". I guess it will be up to HSLDA to fight the state in defense of parental rights as Education Alliance is out to lunch.

In Christ,


Sprittibee said...

CG - Yes, I can't wait to get home to Texas where homeschooling is free, houses are cheaper, there's no state tax, and produce isn't taxed. The cost of living there is much lower and the school board isn't looking over my shoulder. I hope you like it in Oklahoma. I know some great people from there (waving *HI* to you Sheri)!

We have had a few really great preachers in our church history that were from there, too!

Anonymous said...

This is all very interesting I have two children homeschooled.Last year we too had difficulty in recieving our scores and also my son told the testing teacher that she had given him the wrong test book.He was ignored and had to use the book of the girl next to him when we finally rec'd our second set of tests scores my son was so upset math is his high point he is highly skilled in this but the test scores did not reflect this why because they were not his tests as he tried to tell them.I will comply with this requirement of Arkansas but I won,t base any of my childrens capibilities upon these scores and will rely upon my own testing.As stated earlier this is all a money and number game.It relly upsets me Arkansas needs to focus on the public schools short comings.I feel that the homeschoolers have our stuff together have a more effective way to educate our children than the state ever will. I will fight for the right to teach my own children until they enter colledge. Glad to see that others are out there fighting for the same thing,We keep on praying and lifting others up daily. thanks for being there to assure us we are not alone with some of these issuea with the state of Arkansas. ann

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if they plan on testing for several days or will the tests be one day? I also wonder if anyone out there had a problem with the public telling the homeschoolers what areas ould be covered so we could make sure that ou children were prepared.One lady that moved from Texas said the p-super was nice I find when I call and as soon as you say you are home schoolers they clam up on me and thier friendly tone changes towards me like home schoolers are a disease or something they then turn offensive and know nothing.How are we supposed to respond and prepare our children with this type attitude.It is as if they do not want to help and want us to be a failure Has anyone out ther had this trouble,if so what did you do?We are very serios about our scores reflecting upon the whole homeschooler org.And pride ourselves in doing the best we can.It is apparent that some school districts do dislike homeschoolers. any comments to help is appreciated

Sprittibee said...

Ann - Good to know that others also had trouble with getting scores and stuff. Sad that your son's scores did not reflect his understanding of the subject. Keep standing strong. :)

Anonymous - The tests last year took three days. You can get a preperation test booklet by looking up "Iowa Basic Skills Test" in your online browser or going to a homeschool store, most likely. I did not buy one of these last year and don't plan to do it this year, either. I print off the free Texas TAKS or TAAS tests from my link on the sidebar of my website and give those to my children every year to see how they are doing and give me clues as to what areas they need work on. I am not sure how different the TAKS or TAAS is from the CAT or IOWA or SAT, but they can't all be that different.

I think that if the state is requiring the test, they should also supply the SAME BENEFITS to the homeschool moms that the public school teachers get - PRACTICE TEST BOOKS.

I made this known to the AR reps that I spoke with for the district last year. Keep them informed of your complaints so that they can discuss this with those that make the laws. Mention it to your political contacts. Bring it up in campaign meetings if you are active in your local govt. - the point is to be vocal with what you want/need.

What you also need to know is - THEY DO WANT YOU TO FAIL. You are their competition. Your kids staying home makes them loose money. Money is the real issue here. Money is power. They see parents choosing to school their kids and being willing to live off of less income and it scares them.

Just do the best you can and let the Lord bring the increase. 1 + God is a majority... and He will bring you success.

Anonymous said...

I have been a site coordinator for home school testing for 5 years. The past two years of testing have been a nightmare due to total lack of organization at the state level. The state office is grossly understaffed for the management of 7,000 homeschoolers needing testing. Because of the failures at the state level, the homeschool community is made to look bad as regards compliance with the state law. I, myself, have had to turn students away from testing due to lack of materials or lack of space. I'm sure, even though these students are given 'excused from testing' slips, that they are counted in the 'non-testing' numbers. But, ultimately, the fault lies with the state, not the home-schoolers.

Sprittibee said...

cmac - Thanks for your comment. I had the same experience this year when I went to test. I emailed three times and even got confirmation via email that I was testing (even though I got NOTHING in the mail - EVER). When I showed up to test, however, my kids were BOTH not on the list. I thankfully was allowed to test anyway. Who knows WHEN or IF I will get the results. I'm moving out of state again this year, though... so I'm not much worried about it. I'm going back to Texas - where they don't require this pony show. I wish you all the best of luck dealing with the state and making homeschooling better for all those who are unable to move. I will miss the green forests and pretty hills... and the lovely weather. I don't think I've ever been ANYWHERE in spring that was so lovely... and COOL in mid-April! God bless!



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