A Reminder to Maine Home Instruction Parents and SAUs Regarding Annual Assessment Requirement

A reminder to those families who have opted for home instruction during the 2020-2021 School Year that, per Title 20-A: 5001-A , an annual assessment of academic progress is required.

Notice and Assessment Requirement

Parents providing home instruction are required to submit a Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction within 10 days of starting a home instruction program and then again each year by September 1 for subsequent year students. This Notice must contain, among other things, a “statement of assurance that indicates that the home instruction program will include an annual assessment of the student’s academic progress that includes at least one of the forms of assessment described [in statute].” The continuing/subsequent year home instruction Notice submission deadline (September 1) occurs after the conclusion of the previous school year, which is defined as the period July 1 – June 30. Please note that parents of ongoing home instruction students may choose to deliver instruction on a schedule which does not coincide with the reporting period; however the school year definition is always used for the purposes of counting the required 175 days. Since the annual assessment is designed to assess academic progress, it should be administered toward the end of the school year for which progress is being assessed.

An annual assessment can be a teacher letter written by a Maine certified teacher who performs a home instruction student portfolio review, and looks at items in the portfolio such as the attendance record, lesson plans and sample work, to ascertain whether adequate progress has been made by the student. A different, but equally acceptable, assessment method could be to administer a standardized achievement test such as the California Achievement Test, or the Stanford or Iowa Achievement Test, and submit a copy of the test summary page. Or, the student could, with prior permission and according to established local unit policy and protocol, participate in school administrative unit testing. Please see the full range of assessment options as outlined in the attendance statute, Title 20-A: 5001-A. 

Assessment Submission for Students Discontinuing Home Instruction

“If the home instruction program is discontinued, students of compulsory school age must be enrolled in a public school or an equivalent instruction alternative as provided for in this paragraph. The receiving school shall determine the placement of the student. At the secondary level, the principal of the receiving school shall determine the value of the prior educational experience toward meeting the standards of the system of learning results as established in section 6209.”

For parents who discontinue the home instruction program and re-enroll a student in a public or equivalent instruction school before completing the school year, an assessment may not have been completed yet. The receiving school, according to their policy, may choose to review student assessments or portfolio materials that might aid them in determining placement and/or credit value for students transferring in from home instruction programs. Parents of students who will not be returning to home instruction (graduated or enrolling in school) may submit final assessments to the receiving school, or use the Request to Update Home Instruction Record to provide details and a final assessment to be included in their file.

Assessment Submission for Student Continuing Home Instruction

For continuing/subsequent year students in home instruction, the completed home instruction assessment must be submitted together with the Notice of Intent/Subsequent Year Letter (they may not be submitted separately, or by anyone other than the parent submitting the Notice) via the Home Instruction Portal, or by submitting with the paper Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction to the Superintendent of their resident school administrative unit. Either method will serve as the single notification needed to both the resident Superintendent and the Maine Department of Education, as required by law, and will prompt an acknowledgment to parents who supply a valid email address.

More information, Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction forms and other resources regarding home instruction are available on the Maine Department of Education Home Instruction webpage.

Please note that the State does not issue transcripts or diplomas for home instruction students.

For questions, please contact DOE’s School Enrollment Specialist at pamela.ford-taylor@maine.gov.