Evaluation

§14-3 in the law: «Kommunal evaluation of homeschooling»: «The kommune carries out evaluation of the obligatory education of children and youth who do not attend school, and can also formally test them. The kommune can demand that the child or the youth attend school if the demands made of homeschooling by the law ( §§ 1-1, 1-3, 2-3 og 2-4) are not fulfilled.»
The kommune is required to evaluate homeschooled children because all children have the right to an education.
This is enshrined in Norwegian Law.
The responsibility for carrying out the evaluation rests with the evaluator. The parents and the kommune decide together who the evaluator will be - this is extremely important since it is crucial that the relationship be imbued with mutual trust, confidence and respect.
A security network for children:
  • Our culture has certain mechanisms to help prevent neglect and abuse of children.
  • The intent of these mechanisms is to offer and provide help where it is needed.
  • This safety net is composed of family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances.
  • There are also public institutions like the local health clinic, the family doctor, kindergarten, child protection services, the dentist and the school which play an important role in the safety of children.
  • When one homeschools, it is possible that the child has less contact with these public institutions, and there is therefore a need for evaluation of the child's education. The child has the right to an education and the evaluation exists to uphold the child(ren)'s rights.
Evaluation is in the public interest:
  • We wish the best for all children.
The prevailing practice today:
  • The kommune and the family agree upon an evaluator.
  • The evaluator is required to contact the family and make appointments to meet once or twice during the school year.
  • Usually these meetings occur at school or in some other public place like a hotel, library or community center.
Some parents choose to write a diary in which they document what the child has studied in the last school year. This will be based upon the government issued 'knowledge goals', or another education program.
The evaluation:
  • After a conversation with the family and getting to know the child over time, the evaluator will formulate his/her conclusions as to whether the education is satisfactory.
  • After each evaluation meeting, the evaluator will write a report and send a copy to the parents.
  • The report will contain conclusions as to whether the education is satisfactory or not.
  • Based upon this evaluation, the child may be tested on his/her level of academic knowledge.
  • If later evaluations indicate that the child is not receiving the education that s/he has a right to, the kommune can demand that the child attend school.
A good relationship with the evaluator will contribute positively to homeschooling.
The formal letters from the kommune:
  • Some homeschooling parents encounter jargon and other forms of bureaucratic language in the letters they receive from the kommune.
  • This can perhaps seem unnecessary and uncooperative for some, but remember that these are often just summaries and quotes from the law and are not necessarily formulated by the evaluator.
  • Marta Straume (in the Bergen area) has the most experience with evaluation of homeschoolers in Norway. She also offers courses for kommune on effective methods for evaluating homeschoolers.