We get many, many questions about the annual assessment requirement and developed an Assessment FAQ to address the top common questions. We encourage people to reference this handy page.
Parents and guardians are required to maintain records of each student's home education program. The portfolio must include a list of books the student reads and work-product samples from the year such as worksheets, writing samples, videos, computer programs, tests, and creative pieces. Records do not have to be comprehensive; several pages per subject from different points in the study period is sufficient. The reading list may include any reading material the child reads independently or read together. The annual assessment -- a standardized test, teacher evaluation, or mutually accepted method agreed upon by the Participating Agency -- must be included in the portfolio. These records are the private property of the family and must be kept a minimum of two years from the date instruction ended. Note that school districts cannot demand to review the student’s records, but they may be required for participation in school-sponsored activities (Equal Access), course placement, or proof against educational neglect.
The home ed requirements include some kind of annual assessment, and there are many options so families can choose whichever method and approach is best suited to their children’s needs and reflects their learning progress. The assessment performance standard, regardless of which is selected, is for the child to "demonstrate progress commensurate with age, ability, and/or disability." (Updated as of June 2022 HB 1663.) The assessment becomes part of the child's portfolio which is the private property of the family. There is no right or best way to assess your children’s growth; whatever works for your family and reflects your children’s progress is fine.
Standardized tests are one of the ways to fulfill the annual assessment requirement. Numerous national student achievement tests are available and each has different administration requirements, fees, and scoring turn-around times. Some, but not all, are aligned with Common Core Standards. Participating Agencies cannot require families to use a particular assessment or participate in the one they administer to their students. As of 2012 annual assessments are not required to be submitted to the Participating Agency, but results must be included with the student's records for a minimum of two years. Effective June 2022, the home ed law no longer requires students who take a standardized test to achieve at or above the 40th percentile.
Home educators may chose from a number of national student achievement tests including, but not limited to the California Achievement Test (CAT/5), the Stanford Test, the Iowa Basic Skills Test (ITBS), the Classic Learning Test (CLT), TerraNova, and the Personalized Achievement Summary System (PASS). Many of these tests may be administered at home by parents, but consult the providers' website for particular information. Parents usually need to reserve the exam several weeks in advance for a specific time period and return it by a particular date.
Families also have the option to have their home educated children participate in the statewide assessment administered by their local public schools at no cost. Please contact your district office well in advance if you wish to pursue this option.
Go to our Testing Services page for a list of providers.
This is one of the annual assessment options available to home educators. New Hampshire certified teachers, someone with certification recognized by another state, or an educator currently teaching in a NH nonpublic (private) school may perform a homeschool year-end evaluation. GSHE encourages families to talk with potential evaluators to make sure there's a good fit prior to scheduling an appointment. It is advisable to discuss the teacher's experience and specialties, credentials, evaluation process, fees, and any other concerns. It is important that the teacher understands that homeschooling is an individualized education program and families are not obligated to follow public education pedagogy, curricula, standards, or other requirements.
Evaluations include a review of the child's portfolio and mementos from the school year such as playbills, records from sports programs, field trips, creative materials, and other work-product samples, but may include interviews with the parent or student. There is no particular form or checklist; each teacher develops their own evaluation mechanism. Per Ed 315, the evaluation must contain the following:
(1) The name and address of the teacher, including state recognized documentation of certification or the name and address of the nonpublic school in which the teacher is currently teaching;
(2) The date(s) on which the evaluation(s) took place;
(3) A description of the work reviewed;
(4) A summary of the child’s educational progress in the home education program concluding with a statement that the child has or has not made educational progress; and
(5) The signatures of the teacher and the parent.
Students must achieve "progress at a level commensurate with the child's age, ability, and/or disability" per RSA 193-A. This can be particularly favorable for unschoolers and students with special needs or test anxiety. The evaluation must be signed by a parent to be complete, so do not sign it unless it is acceptable. Again, keep a copy with the student's portfolio for a minimum of two years. We have compiled resources to help organize a portfolio.
Go to our Teacher Evaluators, Tutors & Proctors page for a list of teachers who offer these services.
If you are a teacher and would like to be added to our list, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homeschooling families have another broad option to fulfill the annual assessment by using an alternative that is agreed upon with their Participating Agency. The choices are limitless, but should be agreed upon in writing, so there is no misunderstanding later. Examples of alternatives are the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT), the SAT for a grade level other than 11th grade, a report card or transcript from a third-party educational provider, or a capstone project or presentation.
GSHE produced this brief video that goes into these assessment options in depth, and is updated to reflect the legal changes as of summer 2022.
More great advice and suggestions from Amanda on the annual assessment.