The portfolio requirement is documented in 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 (e).
The portfolio is due by the end of each school year (24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 (h)), which is June 30 (24 P.S. § 1-102). It is required for all homeschooled students for the period of time in which they homeschool.
Minimum Portfolio Requirements
- Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student
- A log, made contemporaneously with the instruction, which designates by title the reading materials used.
The log must demonstrate that the home education program provided a minimum of either (1) one hundred eighty (180) days of instruction or (2) of nine hundred (900) hours of instruction per year at the elementary level (grades kindergarten to 6), or nine hundred ninety (990) hours per year at the secondary level (grades 7-12). See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 (c). If you choose to document days, you do not need to specify the number of hours each day.
- For students in grades 3, 5, or 8, the results of the statewide tests (PSSA) or other authorized tests (a list of approved tests is listed on the website in the Home Education Program BEC). See the Home Education section of the website on Standardized Testing.
- A written evaluation from the Evaluator verifying whether the student has had an appropriate education. It is the responsibility of the parent to pay for any charge by an Evaluator for this service. See the Home Education section of the website on Evaluators.
Parents sometimes ask what the portfolio should look like. One suggestion for maintaining the portfolio is to use a big three-ring binder, inserting dividers for (1) the log, (2) the results of the standardized test (for grades 3, 5 and 8), (3) the evaluation, and (4) each subject taught.
Students above Age 17
Compulsory attendance laws require students to attend school until they are 17 years old; therefore, a portfolio must be submitted to account for all homeschooling up to age 17. If a student ceases to homeschool after they turn 17, the portfolio still must be submitted for the period before the seventeenth birthday.
Sometimes supervisors of home education programs question whether they need to continue to document their child’s work once the child has turned 17, or whether it is acceptable simply to submit the portfolio covering the work up to that age.
It is permissible to document only the work up to the seventeenth birthday, but there are diploma and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) considerations. If a student has not yet completed the home education law’s requirements for graduation, or does not submit the documentation to prove they have completed the requirements, there is no way for the superintendent of schools to sign the PHEAA form. However, if this choice already has been made, the student still can take the GED tests and receive a Commonwealth Secondary School diploma. PHEAA will accept these.