High School Record Keeping

With high school comes the added responsibility of record keeping. In the elementary years, keeping records of courses, grades, hours, and activities was not as important. But in the high school years, clear records are necessary for constructing a quality transcript. Even if the student is not currently expressing interest in college, having a transcript is still very important. The student’s post-high school plans may change as they approach graduation; also, future employers will require an educational record.

Along with a transcript a diploma also needs to be issued.  A diploma is basically a certificate awarded by an educational institution that testifies to the successful completion of a course of study.  
 
WV law 18-8-12 reads:
A person who administers a program of secondary education at a public, private or home school that meets the requirements of this chapter may issue a diploma or other appropriate credential to a person who has completed the program of secondary education. Such diploma or credential is legally sufficient to demonstrate that the person meets the definition of having a high school diploma or its equivalent. No state agency or institution of higher learning in this state may reject or otherwise treat a person differently solely on the grounds of the source of such a diploma or credential. Nothing in this section prevents any agency or institution of higher learning from inquiring into the substance or content of the program to assess the content thereof for the purposes of determining whether a person meets other specific requirements. 
(Emphasis added.)
It is not insulting for inquiries to be made about the content of the high school course in your homeschool. The additional records listed below provide that documentation.
 
The first major document that certifies the course of study is the transcript.  The transcript records the classes taken, credits earned, and grades awarded along with the date of graduation. To create a transcript, online forms, apps, and even professional purchased transcripts are available.  Home School Legal Defense has several different transcript templates that will help make this process easier.  CHEWV also provides this Transcript Template in Word which includes a field for the composite score if standardized testing is used during the high school years.

At times the transcript of a homeschooled student is questioned because it is created and verified by the parent. It can be wise to anticipate that issue and create a transcript that is verified otherwise.  For example, your homeschooler must be either tested or his portfolio of work reviewed by a certified teacher. If testing, listing the composite score for each year on the transcript helps corroborate the GPA. If using the portfolio review, it might be prudent to ask the certified teacher to attest to the credits and GPA awarded. In this manner, the transcript documents the high school performance in a more credible way which could be helpful in situations such as college admission and scholarship application.  

Other recommended records include:

  •  Course List – a subject list for each high school year that includes titles of books and resources used.  Grades and grading scale should be included so that a GPA for the semester/year can be determined. Credits received for the courses should also be specified.
  • Test scores – consideration may be given to standardized testing for annual assessment during all or part of the high school years.  These tests show concrete evidence of academic performance in a format that colleges and the general population can readily understand.
  • Extracurricular activities – colleges and employers like to see evidence of an involved individual.  Listing extracurricular pursuits and accomplishments highlights character and perseverance, along with special talents.  Hours can also be included and if enough hours are accrued, a full or partial credit can be given.  (Note: if hours are used for curricular credits, they should be removed from the extracurricular list.) Be sure to include awards, volunteer work, employment, apprenticeship opportunities, leadership experiences, travel, etc.
  • Other records – include transcripts/report cards from any outside classes taken. This could include community college classes, public school classes taken for any part of high school, or a class or study that received a certificate of achievement.

The parent essentially becomes the guidance counselor who assures not only that accurate records are kept, but also that deadlines for tests and applications are met so that the student is well on his or her path to success after the high school years.