RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – James Lane, Superintendent of Public Instruction, says that the focus of the Standards of Learning (SOL) testing this spring should be on collecting data to identify the academic needs of students and inform local and state efforts to help students recover from the impact of the pandemic.

In a video message, which can be viewed below, Lane said that performance data from spring SOL testing will play a key role as schools design instructional and remedial programs to help students catch up after a year of school closures and, in most divisions, extended periods of virtual instruction.

Lane said that when schools review test results this spring and summer, their focus should be on student needs, and not on accreditation or teacher evaluation.

“The results of the SOL tests will be used differently this year. The results are needed to inform what teachers and schools do next with our students. Teachers and principals need to know exactly how kids are doing so they can design instruction and provide support to students over the summer and throughout the next school year that meet their unique academic needs. The SOL tests will provide critical information on where our students are excelling and where they are struggling in a way that is consistent from school to school.”

James Lane, Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction

Last year, Lane exercised his emergency authority to waive state accreditation for 2021-22. However, the U.S. Department of Education is still requiring states to administer federally required reading, mathematics and science tests this spring. In carrying out the federal mandate, the Virginia Department of Education is taking advantage of the flexibility offered by the federal agency to protect the health of students and staff, and minimize stress during testing.