Homeschooled students in grades 3, 5, or 8 must take, and report in their portfolio, the results of the statewide tests (PSSA) or another nationally normed standardized achievement test in reading/language arts and mathematics. At the discretion of the supervisor, the portfolio may include the results of nationally normed standardized achievement tests for other subject areas or grade levels.
Homeschooled students do not “skip” grades, although they may cover the usually grade-specific material more quickly. Similarly, a student may not “skip” a tested grade and so avoid the standardized tests. As a homeschooled student moves through their educational plan, the tests must be administered at the appropriate time, regardless of how quickly the student accelerates through their education.
Home education students do not have to state a reason for not taking the statewide tests. However, the statewide tests may be taken at their school district without cost to the homeschooled student while parents must pay for an alternative test and its administration. Neither the home education supervisor (parent or guardian) nor the spouse of the supervisor may administer the alternative test.
The Department must provide at least five (5) alternative tests in place of the statewide test. A list of approved alternative tests is provided on the website in the Home Education Program BEC.
The Home Education Program Basic Education Circular (BEC) is accessible from the list of BECs.
PSSA Testing Dates
A student may take the PSSA test through their school district in order to fulfill the standardized test requirement. The supervisor should notify the school district early in the school year if the PSSA is to be taken so the school can order the extra tests and arrange for where the test will be administered.
The calendar for the PSSA is available on the PDE website.
Accommodations for Special Needs
The supervisor of the home education program is responsible for determining whether the test publisher allows for accommodations on the particular test and to ensure that the publisher’s policies are followed.
The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in the subject areas of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Literature, English Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History, and Civics and Government.
Homeschooled students are not required to take the Keystone Exams but supervisors of home education programs may request that their students take the test along with the school district, if they so desire. The supervisor should notify the school district early in the school year if the Keystone Exams are to be taken so the school can order the extra tests and arrange for where the test will be administered.