BECOMING AN MDHSA EVALUATOR:
- In order to properly evaluate an MDHSA Diploma Program student, Evaluators are urged to read the most recent version of the MDHSA Diploma Guide.
- Once the Guide has been read, all Evaluators MUST complete the Evaluator Registration Form. Please note: Your information will only be made public if you indicate this is your desire. All Evaluators (even those not wishing to be made public) must complete the online Registration Form.
- Evaluators may request to have their name published on the MDHSA PA Evaluators list (available on the website) by checking the appropriate box on the Evaluator Registration Form.
- By completing the Evaluator Registration form (found on this website), the applicant is agreeing to evaluate according to MDHSA standards, ensuring that those requirements (and not another diploma program’s) are met.
- If you were an MDHSA Evaluator prior to spring 2013, the Registration form must still be completed.
- Credentials for ALL Evaluators must be on file with MDHSA (mail or email copies accepted). If Registering as an Evaluator for the first time, please submit your credentials immediately. (If you were an MDHSA Evaluator prior to spring 2013, and your credentials are already on file, please disregard.)
ROLE OF THE MDHSA EVALUATOR:
- An MDHSA Diploma Program Evaluator must evaluate the participating student each year. The role of the Evaluator is to evaluate, verify, and accept the course credits that the home education program states has been studied for that year.
- The MDHSA Evaluator then completes the 2 page PDF document “MDHSA Annual Summary Form and Transcript” signifying that the credits are accurate and have been accepted. This form is not valid without the Evaluator’s signature in the appropriate fields.
- Evaluators are asked to NOT provide a copy of the MDHSA “Diploma Program Registration Form” or “Annual Summary Form and Transcript” to a family unless it is certain that the family has read the Diploma Guide prior to registering. (This is a Requirement for all new registers.)
PA Law requires that an evaluator evaluate a student each year. The student takes the portfolio of samples of the work done throughout the year to the evaluator who reviews the portfolio and writes an evaluation, which the parent provides to the local superintendent. There is usually a fee charged for this service but some evaluators do this service free of charge. Read more about this in the MDHSA law guide on this website.
Qualified Evaluators are those with one or more of the following according to the PA Home Education Law:
- PA Teacher Certification, whether current or not,
- Must have 2 years grading experience in the past 10 years
- Licensed clinical psychologist
- Certified School psychologist
- A non-public school teacher with two years of teaching experience in the last 10 years in a PA public school or non-public school
Another provision in the law is that, “At the request of the supervisor, persons with other qualifications may conduct the evaluation with the prior consent of the district of residence superintendent.”
An evaluator who does not meet any of the criteria in the first list, may received permission from a school district superintendent to evaluate students. To receive this permission, the parent must request of the superintendent to have that person evaluate his children. The parent should write a letter requesting that the person be approved and make the superintendent aware of this provision, as most superintendents are unaware of this section of the home education law. He should include the following statement which includes a quote from the home education law: According to the Pennsylvania home education law (Act 169-1988) “At the request of the supervisor, persons with other qualifications (than those listed in the home education law) may conduct the evaluation with the prior consent of the district residence superintendent. In no event shall the evaluator be the supervisor of their spouse.” To assure a positive answer, the Evaluator may want to send a list of qualifications (education, teaching experience involvement in home education, books read, workshops attended, workshops taught, etc.) to the superintendent.
Finally, conclude the letter with a paragraph similar to the following, “Please respond with your signature below. However, unless I hear otherwise from you in writing by <use a date 2 weeks after you plan to mail the letter>, I will assume that my request has been granted.” This puts the burden on the superintendent to respond to you and you will not be left eternally wondering if your request has been approved. At the bottom of the letter, put: (evaluator’s name) is approved to do home education evaluations in the (school district’s name).” When it is returned, the evaluator and parent should keep the letter on file.
- Signature ______________ (xxxx school district superintendent) _________ Date
NOTE: The home education provision of the school code specifically prohibits parents from evaluating their own students!