Testing Requirements 55

NC Testing

Annual Testing

In North Carolina, an annual standardized test should be administered to all homeschooled students from the age of 7 until their graduation from your Homeschool Program.

The tests need to be nationally-normed standardized achievement tests, which simply means that the students test scores are compared to other students throughout the nation rather than compared to students only within their state. The “End of Grade” tests for NC that are administered by the public schools do not meet this criteria.

High School Testing

Diagnostic tests, aptitude tests and college entrance exams like the PSAT, ACT and the SAT do not fit the criteria since spelling is no longer included in the content areas tested. (Testing content information is established by NC Law in Chapter 115C – Article 39 of the NC General Statutes – see sections G.S. 115C-549 and G.S. 115C-557 )

Tests must measure achievement in the areas of :

  • English Grammar
  • Reading
  • Spelling
  • Mathematics

Testing Suggestions

Tests can be administered by parents or in a group setting. Online tests that meet the state’s criteria are a viable option.

This website has links to testing providers on the Annual Testing page.

Tests that you may want to look into include:

  • The California Achievement Test (CAT)
  • The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) – grades 1 to 8
  • Iowa Tests of Achievement and Proficiency (TAP) for Grades 9 to 12
  • The Personalized Achievement Summary System (PASS)
  • The Stanford Achievement Test
  • Terra Nova Tests
  • The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement

Tests like the Woodcock-Johnson tests are individualized, can often be less stressful and are good for non-readers since they are mainly verbal and take less time than written exams. Those tests are administered by professionals rather than by parents, but parents may prefer to get their results quickly and some test administrators offer input and advice as well.

Tests for each student in your homeschool need to be maintained on the premises for at least one year along with the other required documentation, attendance and vaccination records or immunization exemption when appropriate for medical or religious reasons. You can voluntarily report online to the NCDNPE that you have testing records available.

If you have questions about immunization records, the NC Immunization Branch website is a good resource for investigating vaccination exemptions. Click Here to read more.

You can voluntarily provide the information that you have met the requirements online at the NCDNPE website by completing the online Homeschool Updates and Changes Form.

 Testing Requirements According to HSLDA

“Parents must administer an annual standardized test (§ 115C-564) any time during the school year which must be made available on request “for inspection” by the state. “For one year after the testing, all records shall be made available … at the principal office of such school, at all reasonable times, for annual inspection by a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina.” (§ 115C-549 or § 115C-557).

Although the Division of Nonpublic Education has attempted to perform home visits under this provision, the law gives its officials no right to enter homes or to inspect any records besides test scores. There is also no statutory requirement for parents to attend regional meetings arranged by the Division of Nonpublic Education for the purpose of reviewing their records. Copies of testing results can be simply mailed to the Division of Non-Public Education upon request. “

Click to Read the HSLDA Analyisis of the NC Homeschool Law

Click to Read the NC Statutes that Pertain to Homeschools 

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55 thoughts on “Testing Requirements

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      HI Kimmie – you can test your child whenever the need arises. As long as you are meeting the requirement of a nationally standardized test annually, other types of tests or levels of testing can be used as placement tools, assessment, diagnosis etc.

  • Shannon Waters

    This is our first year homeschooling. I pulled my son (4th grader) from public school mid year. Is there a certain time of year that the end-of-grade test should be given?

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      HI Shannon – the law requires only that we each test annually, it does not give a specific date by which we must test. The annual deadline for each homeschool is determined by the date we opened our homeschools, so the deadlines will vary accordingly. You are able to test more often than the required annual test if you feel your student needs it. You can also test at the end of your school year, if that works best for your family and continue with that as a testing schedule. Some families do this so they can test with their support group or co-op groups. Other families may wait and test mid-year before their school’s deadline, in order to allow their students to “catch up” to grade level, or just so their child will be more comfortable with testing. As long as you are testing within the deadline (date your opened your homeschool) and annually thereafter, you will be meeting the law’s requirements. Hope this helps you decide when to test your son 🙂

  • Leigh Anne Hills

    I have a testing question. This is our first year of homeschooling. As far as annual testing goes, are there requirements for administering the test? Is a proctor or a certified teacher required or am I able to administer the test to my child myself? I realize online testing or testing centers are options, but we’d like to do the standard paper version of the CAT.

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      Hi Leigh Anne – the NC statutes do not dictate that the testing has to be done in a group setting or proctored. You are able under the law to test at home using the paper version. That said, there may be other reasons to test with a proctor occasionally, for example a high school student who wants to join the honor society, must have a test score to submit, which was not administered at home by their parent. My kids wanted to test sometimes with their homeschool group as well. So short answer; you can administer it on your own, at home annually and be fulfilling the law’s requirements. My kids actually performed better with the “fill-in-the-bubble” paper tests than they did with the online version of the same CAT test.

  • Drea

    My yearly test administrator has the WJ III NU. There is a brand new WJ III that has come out and has been re-normed. Will NC continue to accept the older version of the WJ III?

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      Drea – Yes that test is still fine. As long as it still covers the annual testing requirements established by NC statutes, you can use any test (old or new) that is: Nationally Normed and measures achievement in English Grammar, Reading, Spelling, and Mathematics.

        • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

          Steven – most homeschool parents look at “grade levels” more flexibly than the public school does. Homeschooled children have the time and resources to work at their individual level in each grade and most do- that means some students will be doing remedial work (lower grade level work) in one area and be working above their grade level in another subject. If you are referring to the annual testing requirements in NC, then the short answer is, yes. The achievement tests are not the same as the EOG tests in NC. A parent/teacher should use the annual test as a tool to decide if their student/child needs review or work in a particular subject as compared to their peers. The annual tests are not Pass/Fail tests. Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification on anything.

  • Lisa Grooms

    This is our first year doing homeschool, our daughter is in 4th grade. What are some of the options for end of grade testing and testing during the year to see if she is learning what she should be for her grade?

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      Hi Lisa, there are lots of links in the sidebars of the posts and pages for annual testing providers. What type of test you want and your location may determine which type of test you use for your daughter. Check out the links, keep in mind your daughter’s needs and learning style and then take the plunge and order one. The test should only be a confirmation of what you know as her teacher anyway. If you don’t like that test, you can have her take a different kind next year. Or you may decide to review some test taking skills with her if she doesn’t do well at the end of the year. Sometimes it is just not the best test for your student and fortunately, there are several nationally normed tests we can chose from. Let me know if you have other questions.

  • Mary

    This year was the first year of homeschool. My son is Autistic /ADHD combined. After the public school roller coaster for over 7 years and the high anxiety my son experienced especially after attending middle school. We decided to homeschool him for various and numerous reasons. He is not on grade level. He reads at a 4th grade level. In his math he is on second grade level. Spelling amd Grammer as well.I have had success with the change of home school.He enjoys Math,Reading,and learning he is more comfortable with our homeschools environment. Do you know of a test for special needs that I can use to stay within the guidelines for NC homeschool yearly testing.Can I do school year round if I choose as long as I test each year. Thank you

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      Hi Mary, check the links area for Annual Testing to see if there is someone in your area who will give him the Woodcock Johnson test. It is mostly verbal, personalized and takes a short time compared to a lot of the bubble tests. It covers the subject areas required by NC Homeschool law; English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics.

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      Yes, Brenda – they need to have an annual test during the time they are enrolled in your homeschool starting at the compulsory attendance age here in NC (7) if they turned 7 during your school year, and you haven’t filed your Notice of Intent to homeschool, you need to do it online and then set up testing for your seven year old. You can use a verbal test, modify a CAT test or you can have someone administer a test like the Woodcock-Johnson.

  • karakurtcreative

    Homeschooling my 6th grader – I’ve seen a lot of tests that can be given annually (at this point we’re going with either Iowa or the PASS). However, once he’s taken the test for 6th grade am I required to send the test & results to the NC Dept. of Education……or, somewhere? I know this may sound silly, but it’s a little confusing.

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      No – you don’t need to send anything anywhere. You can report that he tested this year online (voluntary) and if you get an invite to meet, then you will take your proof of testing, vax records and attendance records to that meeting if you agree to go. You do need to keep those records on file at home since by law, they can request to see them if they come to your school. (they don’t as of now do that, but they technically can ask to see these at your doorstep if they wanted to)

  • Joy R

    Hi, I enrolled my daughter in our homeschool this past June. I tested her April 2015 before right after she turned 7. She was not enrolled at the time. She is now about to turn 8 in a week and I am wondering if I need to hurry to test her before she turns 8. Testing times are between March 1st and the second week in April? Her birthday is the 6th and I’m sending off for her scores. Will it matter if I don’t get the results back before her birthday ?

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      Joy – you need to test her if it has been a year since her last test. Testing is due annually so you would use your Notice of Intent date as the start date and then a test would be required annually after that. Does that help you decide?

        • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

          HI Crystal – Congrats on beginning to homeschool! The law states that you will need to test her annually once you file the NOI. So you need to complete her Nationally-normed, standardized test no later than one year from the date you filed in order to fulfill the NC statutes regarding homeschool testing. In other words, within that time frame, you can test whenever it is convenient for you and meets the needs of your student and family.

  • AnneMarie Fassler

    What a wonderful website filled with great information! I am homeschooling my 11th grader (17 years old) and 12th grader (18 years old) for the first time this year. Am I required to test my older son even though he is 18? Thanks for your help!

    • Kristina Smith

      According to NC, it is not compulsory to homeschooling your child after age 16. So, no, you would not be required to test your 18 year old son.

      • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

        Kristina, according to the NC law for homeschools, the student needs to be tested annually for as long as they are enrolled in your legal NC homeschool. For most students that will be beyond the age of compulsory attendance (7-16), so yes, they need to test after the age of 16.

    • Merit Kirkpatrick Post author

      Anne Marie – according to the NC law for homeschools, the student needs to be tested annually for as long as they are enrolled in your legal NC homeschool. For most students that will be beyond the age of compulsory attendance (7-16), so yes, they need to test after the age of 16. So you would need to test them until they graduate from your school no matter how old they are when they graduate. NOTE: I am updating this. I checked the current ACT content, and I do not find spelling as one of the subjects students are tested on, so the ACT & SAT would not meet the annual achievement litmus test given by NC law. Tests must measure achievement in the areas of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. Use the Terra Nova, CAT, IOWA, Stanford or PASS tests for high school.

  • Sarah L'écrivaine Nani

    Hi there! I have a question about graduating. My son is in the 11th grade and he is just experiencing extreme anxiety and having a hard time focusing. It’s been a stretch to get him to school regularly and on time. I’m wondering if he can be home schooled for his last year? I don’t want to make that jump unless he is able to obtain an actual high school diploma. Any information or advice you have to share would be great! Thanks!

    • Merit Kirkpatrick

      Hi Sarah – Once you register your homeschool, you are considered a private school by North Carolina. You are empowered to issue a diploma. Of course beyond just the regular NC law’s requirements, parents homeschooling high schoolers, have the additional responsibility to track credits and grades for the purpose of creating a transcript and issuing a diploma, but a homeschool diploma is considered an actual diploma by colleges and trade schools. They will require his transcripts, grades, and some schools as for a course description for each class. Let me know if you have questions about that too and I hope you both have a great school year.

  • Katina

    I just st art ed the process to start homeschooling my daughter. I chose part 2 (non religious) of article 39. Now I’ve changed my mind. I want to do part 1 (religious ). Do I need to wait till everything is finished or can I do it now? If so how do I do it?

  • diana

    Do I have to notify each year my intent to continue homeschooling? I began homeschooling last year, from my understanding from the nc nonpublic webpage was that I didnt have to notify each year only beginning or ending homeschool. But was asking to know for sure.

  • Karen

    This will be our first year of home education and I’m a tiny bit nervous about the test. Our instruction starts on August 1. I self-scheduled us to order in February and administer in the end of March. Is that a good idea or should I wait until we have completed 9 months? I know to do it at the same time each year, but when is best?

    I plan to have someone outside of the household administer the test, such as a friend or maybe our librarian. Is it better or more respected to have an institution administer it? I’ve herd good things about the CAT, but is it appropriate for secular education? Should/can I order a pre-test?

    Many thanks,

  • Pamela

    Academic Excellence offers an end of year California Achievement test for students with special needs. It can be taken at the student’s pace, divided into as many testing segments as necessary. Completely student-paced. Scoring is immediate, and the can tailor the testing to your student’s need (3rd grade math, 5th grade reading). I just used it for my dyslexic daughter. It was amazing. Cost $20, and practice test was only $5.


  • Ana Henry

    Hi My daughter is ending her 2nd year in homeschooling now. She finished 4th grade in public school and she was on a IEP program for learning disability. We tested last year with a 4th/5th grade test.
    My question: Is there a test that she can take for the end of this school year that is suitable for a child with a learning disabilities and dyslexia. I also feel that we should do 6th grade over again and if so will the ncdnpe allow us to test a 6th grade for 2 years, this year and for next year? I feel she would really benefit and another question is there any help for homeschooling parents with children and learning disabilities in western NC?

    • Merit K

      Hi Ana~ It is my understanding that many experts recommend the primarily oral test the Woodcock Johnson test, especially for students with special needs. The test is administered by a teacher or other administrator one on one and I believe the admin can make accommodations as needed for your student. More information on testing and on consulting in Western Carolina – you could look at Smoky Mountain Academic Resources and Training (S.M.A.R.T.) group: they do testing and I beleive consulting as well: http://www.smarttesting.net/index.html I hope this helps- if you find another group that is doing testing in your area, I would love to know about them so I can add them to our resources. I do not hear a lot from the Western side of our state 🙂 WNC is a support group in Asheville Area: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/WNC-Homeschoolers/info and you may find that the parents there have recommdations for you too!

  • Ginger

    I have been homeschooling for years, but with new changes comes questions. With this new process of being able to update our info online instead of the annual cards being sent out, are we still required to send in the copies of our children’s records (test results and attendance form) to NCDNPE by June 30th? I guess this was considered “Inspection By Mail”…does that still exist? I have looked all over the site, but no success finding any info. I was trying to avoid the call, so I was hoping you could help.

    • Merit K

      HI Ginger- thanks for the great question! The new procedure of reporting online is simply to update information on your homeschool. The NC state law on homeschooling actually never required home educators to submit tests or test scores to the state. Just like private schools, administrators are still required to keep records including: a record of an annually required, nationally normed test that meets NC requirements, record of immunizations and attendance. Previously NC’s Division of Non-public schools chose to request those tests and attendance records of parents who taught at home, but the law did not state that parents needed to do anything other than have the records available at their homeschool. The new Director of NCDNPE has improved the ease of use of the website and may also request information in that online survey that is not required of us by law, such as number of our students, and/or their ages, but again, it is the homeschool parent’s choice as to how much info. they give online. Just as before, there will be parents who are very comfortable giving out a maximum of information on their homeschools, and there will be those who chose to comply with the requirements of the law only. It is really your personal choice as to how much “reporting” you do, but do not send your test scores to the NCDNPE even if you did so previously. It gives them one less thing to shred this year 🙂

    • Merit K

      Hi Vanessa, you can begin your homeschool any time during the school year. It all depends upon your student’s situation as to when you make that final decision. If your child is, like some public school children are, totally stressed by the NC EOG testing and you want to begin before that time, you need to make sure that you get your Notice of Intent to Homeschool to the NCDNPE right away and be certain that the school knows your intentions. I would be sure to put my student’s withdrawal information along with my new homeschool number in writing- that way you don’t need to be worried about truancy issues. Lots of families home educate during summer, so if your child is behind her peers, you can use the summer time for some educational day trips, visits to the library for good reading material and getting involved with a homeschool support group so that you will be ready for the new “school year”. Here is the link to NC’s Division of Non-public education where you will find info on what you need to do to get started: http://www.ncdnpe.org/registration/hhh110a.aspx

  • Lance Abbot

    Hi everyone. With our state requirement for achievement testing I am always searching for the best available option. I just used http://www.academicexcellence.com for the first time and it is by far the best I’ve found. I found a discount code too (FIRSTCAT) that made my test only $20. I’m really amazed that they’re offering it so inexpensively. It was so day to take that I think they could charge a lot more (but don’t tell them that!). I’m not sure how long that coupon code is good for, but their site says even if you buy now you have a year to use the test. Hope this helps!

    • Merit K

      Hi there- The NC laws require annual testing. It is my opinion that the law is saying you need to test within one year of your submission on the Notice of Intent to Homeschool. Many homeschoolers think they are late because they use the end of the school year as their testing date. It is fine to pick a testing date each year, but check the date on your NOI- you may not be late at all yet. If you are, just get the tests done quickly and keep the record available in case the NCDNPE wants to see that you have met the requirement. You can even take the tests online at Christian Liberty Press, who offers CAT tests. The tests results are quick (by email) and then you can move into your new school year without worry! The NCDNPE reps seem very considerate and understanding and I have never heard of anyone getting into “trouble” for getting overwhelmed and a little behind on yearly testing. I am pretty sure that they will be reasonable if for some reason they need to check your records and they see the date is off by a bit- but do go get them done ASAP so that you can meet the laws requirements and so that it is off your mind 🙂

    • Merit K

      Hi Audra- Please just know that it will all be fine. NC Homeschoolers do need to test once a year. Use a nationally normed test. You can order standardized tests from several testing services (see our sidebar on this website under testing) including PES direct http://www.pesdirect.com/Products/CAT5.html (CAT5) or BJU http://www.bjupress.com/testing/. They will mail them right to your home. You can even get a test online at http://www.shopchristianliberty.com/testing-service/. Even though you may have missed last year’s testing, I am sure your kids will do fine. The NCDNPE website can be hard to read, but the employees are very understanding. If you are asked by them about your testing, you just need to explain your situation. Let me know if you have questions.

      • Audra Clyne

        Thank you for your advice and help. I was worried about missing that first test, especially since my son has been at college level since he was 13.. The schools refused to pass him up even though he completed all work for his grade, the grade above and the next grade. When they ran out of work to give him, they just let him read in class. He was apart of the talented and gifted program and was suppose to meet the president but I pulled him out of school since the school insisted on keeping him at the same level. He has since been given college course work from the college courses I take to keep him interested in school. He wants to attend college now but the college says he must be at least 16, which he will be in April. I have been worried out of my mind on making sure he stays ahead of the game since he refuses to do anything he finds to be remedial. Also, do you know how I go about getting him his license? How do I homeschool drivers ed and get him a permit?

        • Merit K

          Hi again Audra- Driver’s Ed question: contact your local public high school and have them direct you to whoever is in charge of their DE. Once he is signed up for their classes, they are really helpful in figuring out which steps to take and when. When you are ready to apply for your Driver’s Eligibility Certificate you will go here : http://www.ncdnpe.org/DECRequestForm.aspx – you need your homeschool ID# to get one sent to you.

  • Audra Clyne

    I didn’t know about the tests so missed lasts years and am late for this years.. I just started teaching next level up automatically. I did private testing with free eogs released online to make sure I was covering everything..once at the beginning, once in The middle and once at the end of ths school year to make sure they stayed on track. Where can I get home tests from? I need for 5th 6th 8th 9th to make up for last year and this year. I started homeschooling in January of last year so figured the school EOG counted but was told it does not even the they tested out of their grade level. I didn’t get a whole lot of help with being a first time homeschooler..everyone acted like it was a state secret and gave me vague advice or sent me to the god AWEFUL ncdnpe site which makes little to no sense to me. I. Dyslexic so I teach I a unique fashion. It affects comprehension when there is just to much information jammed I to tiny print. I prefer strait forward lists of what I need to do.

  • Karen Dew

    I am confused about where to have my 6th grader tested so she can proceed to the 7th grade and will most likely be returning to public school in the fall. I need help!

    • Merit K

      Hi Karen- Your student can be tested anywhere, including in your own home for the end of her homeschool year. The tests home educators are required to give yearly are Standardized and Nationally Normed tests and are not a PASS/FAIL test such as the end of grade (EOG) testing in NC public schools. If you are planing on her returning to public school for 7th grade, you might want to consider having someone else test her, so that the schools may be more likely to put her back on grade level. They trust the “objectivity” of an outside testor more than they do the testing of a parent. You need to have the test done annually to fulfill the requirements of our state to homeschool, but remember, the public schools may require additional placement exams anyway. With all that in mind, if I were in your situation, I would look for an independent tester in my area for her year end test and choose one that the schools do use and trust such as the Woodcock-Johnson III. Depending on how friendly your school district is to home educators, you might be able to find out from them if they will accept your year end independant testing in lieu of other entrance exams for her 7th grade. I hope this gives you some guidance and help- I wish her well in her return to Public School this fall 🙂