Home School Testing FAQs

Testing Requirement

Tab/Accordion Items

No. North Carolina's law addressing the annual nationally standardized testing of non-public school students (both home and conventional) makes no exemptions for any reason. 

Yes – All students enrolled must be tested. However, the law does permit, for example, the administering of a 2nd grade level test to a 13-year-old who is functioning academically at the 2nd grade level.  Note that the science and social studies sections of the test are recommended but are not required by statute. 

For students with significant academic delays, we recommend using a specialize test such as the Brigance or other achievement tests may be more suitable for these students. Several vendors provide these options. Click this link to review a list of most used testing in NC. 

North Carolina home school law does not mandate that the student achieve a certain minimum score on the nationally standardized test in order for the parent/guardian to be legally permitted to continue to home school that student during the following (or any future) school year. 

Non-reader test editions are permitted and are available.

If students are mentally/physically incapable of testing, a doctor’s note must be kept on file and forwarded to our office and saved in your portal verifying the child’s disability.

Accommodations are alterations in the way tasks are presented and responses are given which allow students with disabilities to complete the same test as regular students. Accommodations are NOT alterations in the material or information and they should not provide an unfair advantage. The individual test publishers and venders generally can provide information on what type of accommodations are acceptable. Any accommodations should be noted on the test record.

No. Click on G.S. 115C-174.13, 564, 549 and 557 to read more.

The North Carolina home school testing law requires that the test satisfy these three criteria:

  • nationally standardized (reports scores as national percentiles, stanines and/or grade equivalents and compares student test results to a national norm)
  • an achievement test (one measuring subject knowledge)
  • covers at least the subject areas of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics

Yes, provided scoring is still available for them.

All students enrolled in an open home school listed with DNPE must be tested annually. If the chief administrator has enrolled the student into the home school, the student must be tested.

Yes, as long as the student is currently enrolled in the home school (does not yet possess a high school diploma) or if the student wishes to obtain/retain his/her North Carolina driver's permit/license while under age 18.

Yes, every enrolled home school student should be tested each school year regardless of age.

They must be obtained directly from the test publisher. Contact either the ACT or the College Board organization to obtain them, depending on which test is chosen.

Usually, they assign a specific code number just for home schooled students. It is normally given within their test registration instructions.

Within one calendar year from the date that the student enrolled in the home school, and then again once within each 12-month period thereafter.  The testing requirement is based on the calendar year, not the student's age or grade level.

Yes. The legal requirement for your home school is that its students be tested annually while enrolled in your home school.

In this case, the prior testing was done before the student was enrolled in your home school.

There are two laws which reference achievement testing:

§ 115C-549. Standardized testing requirements.
(which pertains to private schools part 1 and 2)
"Each private church school or school of religious charter shall administer, at least once in each school year, a nationally standardized test or other nationally standardized equivalent measurement selected by the chief administrative officer of such school, to all students enrolled or regularly attending grades three, six and nine (the grades of testing are limited to grades 3, 6 and 9 in private schools)"

§ 115C-564. Qualifications and requirements. (home schools and private schools are part 3 of Article 39 of G.S. 115C)
"A home school shall make the election to operate under the qualifications of either Part 1 or Part 2 of this Article and shall meet the requirements of the Part elected, …except that testing requirements in G.S. 115C-549 and G.S. 115C-557 shall be on an annual basis."

Taken together, these two statutes indicate that home school students should be tested each school year, meaning annually rather than only in certain grades. It does NOT matter what month of the school year the test is administered.

That new child must be tested before one year from the date he/she first officially enrolled in your home school. That new child would then need to be re-tested annually each year thereafter.

These are terms you will encounter when ordering your annual nationally standardized achievement tests. North Carolina home school statutes require that each student be tested annually in at least the subjects of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. 

The "basic battery" tests only the basic subjects of language arts (which usually includes English grammar, reading, spelling) and math.

The "complete battery" includes all the "basic battery" named subjects plus science and social studies. 

The "survey" is simply a shorter version of the "complete battery."  The "survey" was developed in recent years primarily to test students with short attention spans or learning disabilities. 

North Carolina home school statutes require that each student be tested annually in at least the subjects of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. 

For a typical grade 4-12 student, DNPE recommends the "complete battery" for a more comprehensive assessment of the student's subject knowledge, rather than the "survey."  However, both are legally acceptable.

A grade-equivalent score compares a student’s performance on grade-level material against the average performance of students at other grade levels on the same material. It is reported in terms of grade level and months. For example, if a 5th-grade student obtains a grade-equivalent score of 10.5 on a standardized math or reading test, it does not mean that the student is solving math problems or reading at the mid-10th grade level. Instead, it indicates that the student can solve 5th-grade math problems and read 5th-grade material as well as the average 10th-grade student can read and solve 5th-grade math problems.

Caution should be exercised when interpreting grade equivalents, especially when using them as the basis for discussions about grade placement.

Percentile ranks: Ranging from 1 to 99, percentile ranks compare a student’s performance with other students at the same grade or age level. A rank of 50 is average (50th percentile), indicating that the student scored higher than 50 out of 100 same-grade or same-aged peers.

Stanine: An abbreviation for “standard nine,” stanines allow comparison between a student’s performance and other students at the same grade level. Stanines range from 1 to 9, with 1-3 considered low, 4-6 average, and 7-9 high.

Standard score: A more accurate measure of ability than grade or age equivalents, standard scores compare an individual’s performance to same-aged or same-grade peers. Standard scores have a designated mean (average) and occur in equal intervals.

State law requires that they be administered annually. No exemptions are allowed for any reason.

Once the home school has filed its Notice of Intent with DNPE, the student(s) must be administered the test within the first 12 months of DNPE's initial acknowledgment of your Notice of Intent (date shown on your email as the date school was opened) and then once during each of the following consecutive 12-month periods. 

For more valid comparison purposes, it is recommended that the student(s) be tested each successive year during that same month.

The parent/guardian who serves as the chief administrator of the home school pays for it. There are no government (state or federal) or private funding sources available to pay any part of its cost.

Yes. The SAT & PSAT tests are composed of Reading, Writing and Math. The ACT & PreACT are composed of English, Reading, Math and Science, as well as an optional Writing Test.

No, you only need to mail test scores if you are requested to do so. Otherwise we advise you keep ALL test scores in your home school files forever. These scores indicate to outside agencies that you were complying with the home school law and mark student progress.

This is optional and there is no penalty for not entering tests administered. To help home school parents, a field is provided in the record to record the test given and the month and year administered. This creates a log in the home school record signifying the Chief Administrator is complying with legal requirements and creates a record of compliance. Test scores are NEVER recorded into the school record.

There is no particular test required. DNPE maintains a nonexhaustive list of commonly used tests. Chief Administrators are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the test meets the requirements: nationally normed and standardized in administration, includes subtests in reading, grammar, spelling and mathematics.

Tests do not need to be machine scored.

North Carolina does not prevent parents from administering tests to their own students so long as the test publisher allows this practice. Some tests must be given by administrators with specific credentials.

Annual testing allows parents to track their student’s progress and to identify areas of strength and weakness. Students do not pass from one grade to another based on achievement test scores. T

here are many factors which can be used to determine if a student should move on to a higher grade-level work. Achievement test scores may be used for grade placement if parents seek to enroll their students into a conventional private or public school. Principals generally require recent achievement tests for students returning to traditional school from home school.

The DNPE does not evaluate student progress through test scores and there is no minimal score which must be attained.

This page was last modified on 04/29/2024