I figured I’d interrupt our regularly scheduled program for some breaking news from the Natural State. Seems our homeschool testing office employees (all three of them) are up to their eyeballs in email, registration forms, and busy phone lines. Here’s the news that I was emailed today regarding what parents need to know about the upcoming testing next month in Arkansas:
TESTING PROBLEM UPDATE ~ Arkansas, U.S.A
by – Education Alliance Director Jerry Cox
Tue, 20 Feb 2007
The State Home School Testing Office has been overwhelmed with calls and e-mails regarding testing. Here are some problems home schoolers have encountered. Since the State Home School Office has been unable to respond to the high volume of calls and e-mails, here are some suggestions from the Education Alliance regarding questions or problems you may have regarding the upcoming state mandated home school test.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO AS MANY HOME SCHOOLERS AS POSSIBLE AND PLEASE CONTACT THE ONES YOU KNOW WHO DON’T HAVE E-MAIL. PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW IN THE HOME SCHOOL COMMUNITY. CALL THE EDUCATION ALLIANCE AT (501) 978-5503 OR E-MAIL US AT INFO@ARKANSASHOMESCHOOL.ORG
1. No Registration Confirmation: Many of those who have registered for the test have not received confirmation of their registration. The State Home School Office has promised to send a card or e-mail confirming registration.
Suggestion: If you have registered for the test, report to the testing site prepared to have your child tested on the day you are scheduled. Even though you have not received confirmation of your registration, you are still required to have your child tested. If you receive an e-mail confirmation, be sure to make a copy of it for your records.
2. Late Testing Notice from the Arkansas Home School Testing Office: Many home schoolers received their testing information so late that they have almost missed the testing deadline even before opening their material.
Suggestion: No matter how late you receive your testing notification material or if you receive it after deadline to register for the test, you need to register anyway. Don’t attempt to mail in your registration forms. Call and register over the phone, FAX your forms, or register online. The phone number is (501) 354-3136. The FAX number is (501) 354-0167. You may be able to register online if you have a current version of Adobe Reader.
3. No Testing Notice from the Arkansas Home School Testing Office: A few families will not receive a testing packet notifying them where and when to test. They may believe that this exempts them from testing.
Solution: Just because you weren’t notified doesn’t mean you are exempt from testing. State law requires home schoolers in grades 3-9 to take the state mandated test. If your child is in these grades, it is your responsibility to have your child tested even if you did not receive notification in the mail. This is why you need to contact the State Home School Testing Office and register your child to take the test.
4. Failure to Register for the Test: For whatever reasons some home schoolers will not have registered for the test by the day testing begins at your local test site.
Solution: If you have not registered for the test by the day of the test, bring your child to the test site and offer to have your child tested. In some cases, extra tests will be available, but don’t count on it. Refusing to take the test is a crime. Failure to test is not a crime. By attempting to test, you are not refusing to test. Be certain to ask the test site coordinator for written confirmation that you attempted to have your child tested.
5. No Test for Your Child on Testing Day: Some parents who have registered for the test will arrive at the test site and find that no test is available for their child.
Solution: Be certain to ask the test site coordinator for written confirmation that you attempted to have your child tested. Document what happened by sending notification to the Education Alliance office in Little Rock.
6. Other Problems or Concerns: What should parents do if they encounter other problems regarding testing notification, registration, or test administration?
Solution: You may not receive an answer if you call the Home School Testing Office. They have been overwhelmed with telephone calls. The Home School Office of the Department of Education may not be able to help you. They are not in charge of testing. Call or e-mail the Education Alliance and we can advise you. Our number is (501) 978-5503.
7. How to Avoid These Problems in the Future: What can be done to avoid these problems next time?
Solution: The Education Alliance is meeting with a group of legislators on the House and Senate Education Committees to discuss ways to encourage all home schoolers to obey the state testing laws. These issues will almost certainly be discussed. Document your concerns and we will share them with the legislators. It works best if you can e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Considerations: If you attempt to have your child tested and you are unable to do so, be certain that you receive written confirmation from the test site coordinator that you obeyed the testing law by presenting your child for testing. If your child is ill or if there is a family emergency that prevents your child from testing, be certain to notify the test site coordinator or contact the State Home School Testing Office.
I’m amazed at the testing situation up here. It is no wonder Texas doesn’t take on standardized testing procedures for homeschoolers. It is a nightmare. I truly feel for these people. Since we haven’t gotten our email confirmation for registration or our parent handbook with test site info… once again I had to do all the research online. I’ll be there to test in March, even if the state looses my son’s test scores again.
These problems are not new. Last year there was much of the same craziness going on here in Razorback-land. Sounds to me like the Education Alliance needs to focus on discussing the problems with the state’s system and not homeschooler attendance. Looks like most of the problems rest squarely on the shoulders of the state.
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