Homeschooling in Iowa

State Laws

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Iowa Laws Regulating Home Education
 Summaries and Explanations of Iowa Homeschooling Laws
 Iowa Statutes
 Case Law & Legal Opinions

Summaries and Explanations of Iowa Homeschooling Laws Back to Top
Correspondence Schools FAQ
NICHE
This FAQ is intended for those using CPI Option 2 with Opt-In who have selected a report from an accredited corresponden. ce school as their form of annual assessment
Home School Assistance Programs (HSAP)
NICHE
A Home School Assistance Program [HSAP] is a program the local school district may offer to families in their district. School districts are not required to provide HSAPs and parents are not required to enroll their homeschooled students in a HSAP, if their district provides one. The Home School Assistance Programs that do exist across the state of Iowa vary widely as to how they operate and the services they offer, but, in general, all HSAPs provide a supervising teacher for HSAP-enrolled students. This supervising teacher is selected and assigned by the public school district. Those school districts that offer Home School Assistance Programs receive state funding for each HSAP-enrolled student. Home School Assistance Programs are allowed to impose any additional requirements on students enrolled in their programs.
Homeschool Options in Iowa
Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators
This chart offers a clear look at all of the homeschool options available under current Iowa law.
Homeschooling in Iowa: Know the Law and Rules
NICHE
Homeschooling laws vary widely from state to state. The Iowa law and rules may seem quite complicated at first, but NICHE has created a number of resources and forms to help home educators find their way through the maze of regulations. Here, you will find a brief overview of the legal requirements and options in Iowa.
Immunizations FAQ for Iowa Homeschoolers
NICHE
This FAQ is an explanation of Iowa laws pertaining to immunizations and exemptions for home schooling families. Home educators in Iowa can take the religious exemption for immunizations. There is no longer a requirement in Iowa stating an applicant must be a member or adherent of a recognized religious denomination or bona fide church to take the religious exemption for immunizations.
Iowa Compliance: Step-by-Step
Ed Dickerson
A short summary of the different ways to comply with the laws.
Iowa Home School Laws from HSLDA
HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Iowa. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Iowa.
Iowa Homeschool Legal Requirements and Options
The Iowa law and rules may seem quite complicated at first, but NICHE has created a number of resources and forms to help home educators find their way through the maze of regulations. Here you will find a brief overview of the legal requirements and options in Iowa.
Private Instruction (Home Schooling)
Iowa Department of Education
Private Instruction is instruction using a plan and a course of study in a setting other than a public or organized accredited nonpublic school. It includes competent private instruction (CPI) by a licensed practitioner or a nonlicensed person, independent private instruction (IPI), home school assistance programs (HSAP), and non-accredited nonpublic schools.

Iowa Statutes Back to Top
281—31.2 Reports as to competent private instruction.
31.2(1) Reporting. The parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age who does not enroll the child in a public school or Iowa accredited nonpublic school shall complete a report in duplicate on forms created by the department of education and provided by the resident public school district, indicating the parent, guardian, or custodian’s intent to provide or arrange for competent private instruction for the child for each school year. The report shall be filed with the school board secretary by the first day of school in the resident district, except as otherwise provided by these rules. a. The report shall include the following information: (1) The name and address of the parent, guardian, or custodian reporting; (2) The name and birth date of the child; (3) An indication of the number of days of instruction, which must be a minimum of 148 days per academic year; (4) The name and address of the person providing competent private instruction to the child and an indication of whether that person is the holder of a valid Iowa practitioner license or teaching certificate appropriate to the age and grade level of the child being taught; (5) An outline of the courses of study, including subjects covered, lesson plans, and time spent on the areas of study; (6) The titles and authors or publishers of the texts to be used; (7) Evidence of immunization of the child, as required by law, if the child is being placed under competent private instruction for the first time. b. The report shall also seek the following information, which may be supplied by the person filing the report: (1) An indication of whether and to what extent dual enrollment of the child in the public school is desired; (2) An indication of whether the child is currently identified as a child requiring special education pursuant to the rules of special education; (3) An indication of which form of annual assessment, if applicable, is to be administered to the child and which test, if known, is desired.
31.2(2) Late reporting. If a parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian decides, after enrolling a child of compulsory attendance age in a public or accredited nonpublic school and after the deadline for filing a report under subrule 31.2(1), that the parent wishes to provide competent private instruction to the child, the parent, guardian, legal or actual custodian shall file the report required no later than 14 calendar days after removing the child from the public or accredited nonpublic school. Days of the child’s attendance in the public or nonpublic school up to the time of removal shall be applied to the 148–day minimum compulsory attendance requirement for the school year affected.
281—31.3(299) Duties of licensed practitioners.
31.3(1) Licensing requirements. A person who provides instruction to or instructional supervision of a student receiving competent private instruction shall be either the student’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian or a person who possesses a valid Iowa teaching certificate or practitioner license which is appropriate to the age and grade level of the student under competent private instruction. 31.3(2) Duties. The duties of a certificated or licensed teacher practitioner who instructs or provides instructional supervision of a student shall include the following: a. Contact with the student and the student’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian at least twice per 45 days of instruction, during which time the teacher practitioner fulfills the duties described below. One of every two contacts shall be face–to–face with the student under competent private instruction. However, if the instruction or instructional supervision is provided by a public or accredited nonpublic school in the form of a home school assistance program, the teacher practitioner shall have contact with the child and the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian at least four times per quarter during the period of instruction. One of every two contacts shall be face–to–face with the student under competent private instruction. b. Consulting with and advising the student’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian with respect to the following during the course of the year’s visits: (1) Lesson plans; (2) Textbook and supplementary materials; (3) Setting educational goals and objectives; (4) Teaching and learning techniques; (5) Forms of assessment and evaluation of student learning; (6) Diagnosing student strengths and weaknesses; (7) Interpretation of test results; (8) Planning; (9) Record keeping; and (10) Other duties as requested or agreed upon. c. Providing formal and informal assessments of the student’s progress to the student and the student’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian. d. Annually maintaining a diary, record, or log of visitations and assistance provided. e. Referring to the child’s district of residence for evaluation a child who the practitioner has reason to believe may be in need of special education. 31.3(3) Limitations. A licensed Iowa practitioner who is employed or agrees to provide instruction or instructional supervision of programs of competent private instruction shall not serve in that capacity on behalf of more than 25 families, or more than 50 children of compulsory attendance age, in an academic year unless the service is provided pursuant to the teacher’s employment with a nonaccredited nonpublic school. A licensed Iowa practitioner who is employed by a public or accredited nonpublic school to provide instruction or instructional supervision through a home school assistance program, as defined in subrule 31.4(5), shall not serve in that capacity on behalf of more than 20 families, or more than 40 children of compulsory attendance age, in an academic year. A licensed practitioner or authorities in charge of a public or accredited private school may seek exemption from the above limitation by submitting a written request to the director of education. Exemptions shall be granted when the director is satisfied that the limitation will pose a substantial hardship on the person or the school providing instruction or instructional supervision, and that the best interests of all children being served by the practitioner or school will continue to be met.
281—31.7(299A) Baseline testing and annual assessment.
31.7(1) When required. When a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age provides private instruction to a child without the assistance or supervision of a validly licensed Iowa practitioner as required by law and these rules, and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian does not hold a valid Iowa practitioner license appropriate to the ages and grade levels of the child under competent private instruction, the child is subject to initial baseline testing and an annual evaluation. For the 1992–93 school year and thereafter, a child who is at least seven years old by September 15, who begins a program of competent private instruction and is subject to the annual assessment requirement, shall be administered a baseline test for the purposes of obtaining educational data. The baseline test shall be taken by June 30, 1993, for programs of competent private instruction begun in school years 1991–92 and 1992–93, and shall be taken by May 1 in ensuing school years. Any test listed in subrule 31.7(2) may be used to fulfill the baseline test requirement, provided that the copyright date of the test publisher’s published national norms that are used for the test results being reported is within eight years of the school year in which the test is administered. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian may select either standardized testing or portfolio assessment for purposes of fulfilling the annual evaluation requirement of the law. 31.7(2) Standardized testing. A parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child, who chooses standardized testing for the purpose of determining whether the child is making adequate educational progress, shall select one of the following instruments for the child to take: a. California Achievement Test (CAT); CTB McMillan/McGraw Hill. Reading: K–12.9 Language: K–12.9 Mathematics Composite: K–12.9 Science: 1.6–12.9 Social Studies: 1.6–12.9 b. Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS). Reading: K–12.9 Language: 1.0–12.9 Mathematics Composite: K.1–12.9 Science: 1.0–12.9 Social Studies: 1.0–12.9 c. Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS); The Riverside Publishing Company. Reading: K.8–9.9 Language Total: K.1–9.9 Mathematics Total: K.1–9.9 Science: 1.7–9.9 Social Studies: 1.7–9.9 d. Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED); The Riverside Publishing Company. Written Expression: 9.0–12.9 Quantitative Thinking: 9.0–12.9 Social Studies: 9.0–12.9 Natural Science: 9.0–12.9 Literary Materials: 9.0–12.9 Vocabulary: 9.0–12.9 Sources of Information: 9.0–12.9 e. Metropolitan Achievement Tests (MAT); The Psychological Corporation. Reading: K.0–12.9 Language: K.0–12.9 Mathematics Composite: K.0–12.9 Science: 1.5–12.9 Social Studies: 1.5–12.9 f. Stanford Achievement Test; The Psychological Corporation. Reading: K.0–12.9 Language: 1.5–12.9 Mathematics Composite: 1.5–9.9 Science: 3.5–12.9 Social Studies: 3.5–12.9 g. Stanford Achievement Test, Abbrev.; The Psychological Corporation. Reading: 1.5–12.9 Language: 1.5–12.9 Mathematics Composite: 1.5–9.9 Science: 3.5–12.9 Social Studies: 3.5–12.9 Braille or large print editions of the above tests are available for vision–impaired children. Testing norms are available for the vision– and hearing–impaired child. In the event that the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child under competent private instruction and subject to the annual assessment requirement wishes to have the child take a standardized test not listed above, the parent shall request permission of the director of the department of education to use a different test. The decision of the director shall be final. A child under competent private instruction and subject to an annual evaluation whose educational program and instructional materials are designed for students in grades 1 through 5 shall, at a minimum, be tested in the areas of reading, language, and mathematics. A child whose educational program and instructional materials are designed for students in grades 6 through 12 shall, at a minimum, be tested in the areas of reading or literary materials, language or written expression, mathematics or quantitative thinking, science, and social studies. A child subject to the annual assessment requirement, who takes a standardized test from the above list, shall take a grade level form of the test that corresponds most closely to the child’s chronological age unless permission is granted by the test administrator to take another grade level form of the test. When a parent, guardian, or legal custodian requests another form of the test, the test administrator shall make a decision based upon the following: (1) A review of the instructional materials used by the child in the education program; (2) Results of curriculum–based measurement techniques including the administering of probes; and (3) A review of current samples of the child’s work product. The decision of the test administrator as to the appropriate grade level form of the standardized test to be taken shall be final. If retesting is desired, a different form of the same test or a different test shall be administered to the child sufficiently in advance to allow for processing of the test results prior to the first day of classes of the succeeding school year of the resident school district. 31.7(3) Testing times and sites. Standardized test results are normed against a population taking the same test at approximately the same time of year. Norms for the above listed tests exist for fall, winter, and spring. Because the annual assessment is used, in part, to determine whether the child has made at least six months’ progress from the previous test, annual standardized tests used for determining whether adequate progress has been achieved shall be taken at approximately the same time each year. The school district of residence of the child shall annually, by October 1, provide the following notification to a parent, guardian, or legal custodian who has selected the standardized testing form of evaluation for a child under competent private instruction: a. The times and dates when standardized tests will be administered by the public school district and the area education agency over the school year, including fall, winter, and spring testing times. A school district or area education agency shall administer standardized tests at the child’s home when testing in the home is requested; b. A data sheet showing the costs associated with each test listed in subrule 31.7(2); and c. A reply form for the parent, guardian, or legal custodian to complete indicating the date, location, and test selected, including the grade level form of the test; an indication of whether the parent, guardian, or legal custodian wishes to be present for testing; and any special requests such as Braille or large print forms of the test. School districts and area education agencies shall cooperate in the purchasing and processing of test materials to reduce the cost of testing insofar as possible. Unless the child is under dual enrollment, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child who has selected the standardized testing option of annual assessment shall timely reimburse the school district for the cost of testing the child. 31.7(4) Portfolio assessment or evaluation. In lieu of standardized testing for purposes of annual assessment, a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child under competent private instruction and subject to the annual assessment requirement may arrange to have a qualified, licensed, Iowa practitioner review a portfolio of evidence of the child’s progress by May 1, 1993, and annually by May 1 thereafter, subject to the following requirements: a. Portfolio evaluators. A single evaluator shall be designated by each parent, guardian, or custodian who has selected the portfolio evaluation option for annual assessment. The evaluator so identified shall be approved by the superintendent of the local school district or the superintendent’s designee, and shall hold a valid Iowa practitioner license or teacher certificate appropriate to the ages and grade levels of the children whose portfolios are being assessed. For children whose grade level of study is any of grades 1 through 5, the portfolio evaluator shall hold a valid Iowa license as an elementary practitioner or an elementary endorsement. For children whose grade level of study is in any of grades 6 through 9, the portfolio evaluator shall hold a valid Iowa license as either an elementary or a secondary practitioner or hold either an elementary or a secondary endorsement. For children whose grade level of study is in any of grades 10 through 12, the portfolio evaluator shall hold a valid Iowa license as a secondary practitioner or hold a secondary endorsement. A portfolio evaluator may not evaluate the portfolios of more than 25 students per year without permission of the director of the department of education. b. Contents of portfolio. The child’s portfolio shall contain evidence of academic progress in the minimum curriculum areas of reading, language arts, and mathematics if the child under private instruction is in grade levels 1 through 5. For children in grade levels 6 through 12, the portfolio shall contain evidence in the minimum curriculum areas of reading, language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. For each curriculum area, the portfolio shall include a book of lesson plans, a diary, or other written record indicating the subject matter taught and activities in which the child has been engaged, and an outline of the curriculum used by the child. The portfolio may also include a list of, a reference to, or material from the textbooks and resource materials used by the student in each subject area. The portfolio shall also include copies of tests or other formal and informal assessment instruments used to measure student progress over the current academic year if given, a copy of the baseline test, and the most recent assessment report of the student’s annual progress. For each subject area to be evaluated, the portfolio shall include examples of the student’s work, and may include self–assessments by the student. c. The parents of a child subject to the annual assessment requirement who has a physical or mental disability so significant that the results of a standardized test would be meaningless for assessment purposes may request the department’s approval of an alternative evaluation. d. For a child subject to annual assessment who is enrolled as a student of a correspondence school which is a member of a national or regional accrediting association which is recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and accredited for elementary and secondary education, the department may accept as an alternative assessment the annual report of progress sent by the correspondence school to the child’s parents, if the annual report of progress includes a listing of subjects taken and grades received. A passing grade in all content areas for which annual assessment is required shall be deemed evidence of adequate progress for the purpose of annual assessment.
281—31.8(299A) Reporting assessment results.
31.8(1) Baseline tests. The baseline test results of each child subject to the baseline test requirement of Iowa Code section 299B.4 and subrule 31.7(1) shall be reported by the test administrator to the school district of residence of the child and to the department of education by June 30 of the year in which the test was taken. The baseline test shall serve only as data from which subsequent progress shall be measured; the baseline test alone is not an indication of educational progress or a lack of progress. 31.8(2) Standardized tests. The results of a standardized test taken by a child subject to the annual assessment requirements shall be reported by the test administrator to the district of residence of the child and to the department of education by June 30 of the year in which the test was taken. The results shall be submitted in original form as received from the agency responsible for scoring the test. 31.8(3) Portfolio assessments. The assessment results of a child’s educational portfolio made by a qualified Iowa licensed practitioner or practitioners shall be submitted by the portfolio evaluator(s) to the child’s parent, guardian or legal custodian, the district of residence of the child, and the department of education by June 30 of the year in which the assessment was done. The report shall be in narrative form and shall include assessments of the child’s achievement and progress in the curriculum areas including reading, language arts, and mathematics for children whose grade level of study is fifth grade and below, and those subjects plus the additional areas of science and social studies for students whose grade level of study is sixth grade and above. The report shall include a statement as to whether the child has demonstrated adequate progress in each of the areas of study for which the portfolio evaluator is qualified to provide an assessment. The report shall be signed by each evaluator.
299.1 Attendance requirements.
Except as provided in section 299.2, the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child who is of compulsory attendance age, shall cause the child to attend some public school, an accredited nonpublic school, or competent private instruction in accordance with the provisions of chapter 299A, during a school year, as defined under section 279.10. The board of directors of a public school district or the governing body of an accredited nonpublic school shall set the number of days of required attendance for the schools under its control. The board of directors of a public or the governing body of an accredited nonpublic school may, by resolution, require attendance for the entire time when the schools are in session in any school year and adopt a policy or rules relating to the reasons considered to be valid or acceptable excuses for absence from school.
299.1A Compulsory attendance age.
A child who has reached the age of six and is under sixteen years of age by September 15 is of compulsory attendance age.
299.1B Failure to attend--loss of driver's license.
A person who does not attend a public school, an accredited nonpublic school, competent private instruction in accordance with the provisions of chapter 299A, an alternative school, adult education classes, or who is not employed at least twenty hours per week shall not receive a motor vehicle operator's license until age eighteen. A person under age eighteen who has been issued a motor vehicle operator's license who does not attend a public school, an accredited nonpublic school, competent private instruction in accordance with the provisions of chapter 299A, an alternative school, or adult education classes, shall surrender the license and be issued a temporary restricted license under section 321.215.
299.2 Exceptions.
Section 299.1 shall not apply to any child: 1. Who has completed the requirements for graduation in an accredited school or has obtained a high school equivalency diploma under chapter 259A. 2. Who is excused for sufficient reason by any court of record or judge. 3. While attending religious services or receiving religious instructions. 4. Who is attending a private college preparatory school accredited or probationally accredited under section 256.11, subsection 13. 5. Who has been excused under section 299.22. 6. Who is exempted under section 299.24.
299.24 Religious groups exempted from school standards.
When members or representatives of a local congregation of a recognized church or religious denomination established for ten years or more within the state of Iowa prior to July 1, 1967, which professes principles or tenets that differ substantially from the objectives, goals, and philosophy of education embodied in standards set forth in section 256.11, and rules adopted in implementation thereof, file with the director of the department of education proof of the existence of such conflicting tenets or principles, together with a list of the names, ages, and post-office addresses of all persons of compulsory school age desiring to be exempted from the compulsory education law and the educational standards law, whose parents or guardians are members of the congregation or religious denomination, the director, subject to the approval of the state board of education, may exempt the members of the congregation or religious denomination from compliance with any or all requirements of the compulsory education law and the educational standards law for two school years. When the exemption has once been granted, renewal of such exemptions for each succeeding school year may be conditioned by the director, with the approval of the board, upon proof of achievement in the basic skills of arithmetic, the communicative arts of reading, writing, grammar, and spelling, and an understanding of United States history, history of Iowa, and the principles of American government, by persons of compulsory school age exempted in the preceding year, which shall be determined on the basis of tests or other means of evaluation selected by the director with the approval of the state board. The testing or evaluation, if required, shall be accomplished prior to submission of the request for renewal of the exemption. Renewal requests shall be filed with the director on or before April 15 of the school year preceding the school year for which the applicants desire exemption.
299.3 Reports from accredited nonpublic schools.
Within ten days from receipt of notice from the secretary of the school district within which an accredited nonpublic school is conducted, the principal of the accredited nonpublic school shall, once during each school year, and at any time when requested in individual cases, furnish to the secretary of the public school district, within which the accredited nonpublic school is located, a certificate and report in duplicate on forms provided by the public school district of the names and ages of each pupil of the accredited nonpublic school who is of compulsory attendance age and the grade level of each pupil, during the preceding year and from the time of the last preceding report to the time at which a report is required. In addition, the report shall identify all students of compulsory attendance age who were truant as defined by law or school policy and the number of days of truancy for the period covered by the report, and children who dropped out, withdrew from enrollment, or transferred to another Iowa school and the date their attendance ceased at the accredited nonpublic school. The secretary shall retain one of the reports and file the other with the secretary of the area education agency.
299.4 Reports as to private instruction.
The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child who is of compulsory attendance age, who places the child under competent private instruction under either section 299A.2 or 299A.3, not in an accredited school or a home school assistance program operated by a public or accredited nonpublic school, shall furnish a report in duplicate on forms provided by the public school district, to the district by the earliest starting date specified in section 279.10, subsection 1. The secretary shall retain and file one copy and forward the other copy to the district's area education agency. The report shall state the name and age of the child, the period of time during which the child has been or will be under competent private instruction for the year, an outline of the course of study, texts used, and the name and address of the instructor. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child, who is placing the child under competent private instruction for the first time, shall also provide the district with evidence that the child has had the immunizations required under section 139A.8. The term "outline of course of study" shall include subjects covered, lesson plans, and time spent on the areas of study.
299A.1 Private instruction.
The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age who places the child under private instruction shall provide, unless otherwise exempted, competent private instruction in accordance with this chapter. A parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age who places the child under private instruction which is not competent private instruction, or otherwise fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter, is subject to the provisions of sections 299.1 through 299.4 and the penalties provided in section 299.6. For purposes of this chapter, "competent private instruction" means private instruction provided on a daily basis for at least one hundred forty-eight days during a school year, to be met by attendance for at least thirty-seven days each school quarter, by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner in the manner provided under section 299A.2, or other person under section 299A.3, which results in the student making adequate progress. For purposes of this chapter and chapter 299, "private instruction" means instruction using a plan and a course of study in a setting other than a public or organized accredited nonpublic school.
299A.2 Competent private instruction by licensed practitioner.
If a licensed practitioner provides competent instruction to a child of compulsory attendance age, the practitioner shall possess a valid license or certificate which has been issued by the state board of educational examiners under chapter 272 and which is appropriate to the ages and grade levels of the children to be taught. Competent private instruction may include, but is not limited to, a home school assistance program which provides instruction or instructional supervision offered through an accredited nonpublic school or public school district by a teacher, who is employed by the accredited nonpublic school or public school district, who assists and supervises a parent, guardian, or legal custodian in providing instruction to a child. If competent private instruction is provided through a public school district, the child shall be enrolled and included in the basic enrollment of the school district as provided in section 257.6. Sections 299A.3 through 299A.7 do not apply to competent private instruction provided by a licensed practitioner under this section. However, the reporting requirement contained in section 299A.3, subsection 1, shall apply to competent private instruction provided by licensed practitioners that is not part of a home school assistance program offered through an accredited nonpublic school or public school district.
299A.3 Private instruction by nonlicensed person.
A parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age providing competent private instruction to the child shall meet all of the following requirements: 1. Complete and send, in a timely manner, the report required under section 299.4 to the school district of residence of the child. 2. Ensure that the child under the parent's, guardian's, or legal custodian's instruction is evaluated annually to determine whether the child is making adequate progress, as defined in section 299A.6. 3. Ensure that the results of the child's annual evaluation are reported to the school district of residence of the child and to the department of education by a date not later than June 30 of each year in which the child is under private instruction.
299A.4 Annual achievement evaluations--requirements and procedure.
1. Each child of compulsory attendance age who is receiving competent private instruction shall either be evaluated annually by May 1, using a nationally recognized standardized achievement evaluation or other assessment tool developed or recognized by the department of education and chosen by the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian from a list of approved evaluations or assessment tools provided by the department of education or be evaluated annually in the manner provided in subsection 7. The department shall provide information on the cost of and the administration time required for each of the approved evaluations. The department shall provide, as part of approval procedures for evaluations to be used under this section, a mechanism which permits the introduction and approval of new or alternate methods of educational assessment which meet the requirements of this chapter. 2. A child, who is seven years of age and is receiving competent private instruction or who is placed under competent private instruction for the first time, shall be administered an evaluation for purposes of obtaining educational baseline data. 3. The director of the department of education, or the director's designee, which may include a school district or an area education agency, shall conduct the evaluations required under subsections 1 and 2 for children under competent private instruction. Evaluation shall occur at a time and a place to be determined by the person responsible for conducting the evaluation. Persons conducting the evaluations shall make every reasonable effort to conduct the evaluations at times and places which are convenient for the parent, guardian, or legal custodian. 4. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child receiving competent private instruction may be present when the child is evaluated, but only if both the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and the child are under the supervision of the evaluation administrator. 5. The conducting of evaluations shall include, but is not limited to, purchasing of evaluation materials, giving the evaluations, scoring and interpreting the evaluations, and reporting the evaluation results. 6. Except when a child has been enrolled in a public school district under section 299A.8, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child being evaluated shall reimburse the entity conducting the evaluation for no more than the actual cost of evaluation required by this chapter. However, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian is not required to reimburse the evaluating entity for costs incurred as a result of evaluation under section 299A.9. 7. In lieu of annual achievement evaluations, a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child may submit, as evidence of adequate academic progress, all of the following: a. A book of lesson plans, a diary, or other written record indicating the subjects taught and activities in which the child has been engaged. b. A portfolio of the child's work, including but not limited to, an outline of the curriculum used by the child, copies of homework completed in conjunction with the curriculum and instruction, and copies of evaluations completed by the child which have been produced by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian. c. Completed assessment evaluations, other than the annual achievement evaluation, if assessment evaluations are administered to a pupil as part of the competent private instruction by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian. If a parent, guardian, or legal custodian submits evidence under this section, the information shall be reviewed by a qualified, licensed, Iowa practitioner selected as the evaluator by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and approved by the superintendent of the local school district or the superintendent's designee. The evaluator shall prepare a report based on a review of the child's work submitted, which shall include an assessment of the child's achievement or academic progress levels, and submit a copy of the report to the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the school district of residence of the child, and the department of education. If the evidence demonstrates, in the evaluator's opinion, that the child is achieving adequate progress, the report shall create a presumption that the child is making adequate progress.
299A.5 Reporting of evaluation results.
The results of evaluations administered to children of compulsory attendance age who are under competent private instruction shall be reported by the evaluation administrator to the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the school district of residence of the child, and the department of education. Personally identifiable information relating to or contained in the evaluation scores is confidential and shall not be released without the prior consent of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian except as otherwise permitted by law.
299A.6 Failure to make adequate progress.
If the results of evaluations, administered to a child of compulsory attendance age who is under competent private instruction, indicate that the student has failed to make adequate progress, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian shall cause the child to attend an accredited public or nonpublic school at the beginning of the next school year unless, before the beginning of the next school year, the child retakes a different form of the same evaluation, or another evaluation from the approved list of tests or assessment tools recognized by the department of education, and the results indicate that adequate progress has been made, the child has demonstrated adequate performance in the opinion of an evaluator and documented in a report under section 299A.4, subsection 7, or the director of the department of education, or the director's designee, grants approval for competent private instruction to continue under a plan for remediation. A child who is required to attend an accredited public or nonpublic school under this section shall continue attendance at an accredited public or nonpublic school until the child achieves adequate progress. For purposes of this chapter, "adequate progress" means, for children in all grade levels of competent private instruction, evaluation scores which are above the thirtieth percentile, nationally normed, in each of the areas of reading, mathematics, and language arts, and which indicate either that the child has made six months' progress from the previous evaluation results or that the child is at or above grade level for the child's age. For children in grade levels six and above, "adequate progress" also means that the child has achieved evaluation scores in both science and social studies which are above the thirtieth percentile, nationally normed, and which either indicate that the child has made six months' progress from the previous evaluation results or that the child is at or above grade level for the child's age.
299A.7 Notice to parents--remediation.
If a child is placed under competent private instruction and the child fails to make adequate progress under competent private instruction, the director of the department of education, or the director's designee, shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child that the child is required to attend an accredited public or nonpublic school, unless approval for competent private instruction under a remediation plan is granted. The director, or the director's designee, may provisionally approve continued competent private instruction under an approved remediation plan designed to improve instruction for up to one year.

Case Law & Legal Opinions Back to Top
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."


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