VA Department of Education issues new testing rules and standards impacting SOLs


Courtesy: MGN

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – The Virginia Department of Education released data today on the performance of students on Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in reading, writing, mathematics, science and history/social science during the 2018-19 school year. These results reflect changes in patterns students had while taking the test, caused by revisions to the Commonwealth’s diploma and school accountability standards as well as the new mathematics tests introduced in all grade levels.

Statistics relating to pass rates in the five tested content areas are as follows:

  • 78% passed in reading, compared with 79% during the 2017-18 school year;
  • 76% passed in English writing compared with 78% previously;
  • 82% passed with new mathematics tests, compared with 77% the previous year;
  • 81% passed in science, unchanged from the 2017-18 school year; and
  • 80% passed in history/social science, compared with 84% previously.

SOL revisions were approved by the state Board of Education in 2017 and became effective last year reduced the number of SOL test high schoolers must pass in order to receive their diplomas. Under the new regulations, students who meet the testing requirement in any content area do not have to take another test in that subject unless additional testing is required for the school to comply with federal testing requirements. Before the revisions, high school students continued to take end-of-course finals even if they have already earned the credits in the content area necessary to graduate.

The 2018-19 school year also saw the introduction of new math SOL tests which reflect revisions to the state mathematics standards approved by the Board of Education in 2016 which marked the end of the three-year transitions to the revised standards.

“The achievement in a school, a division or in the Commonwealth as a whole must be viewed in the context of these changes in the student test-taking patterns, standards and assessments. These changes were significant and performance on last year’s SOL tests marks the beginning of new trend lines in mathematics, science and history.”

James Lane, Superintendent of Public Instruction

Currently, school divisions are required to provide reading intervention services to students in grades K-3 who demonstrate deficiencies on tests; however, The Standards of Quality do not mandate school divisions provide reading specialists but does recommend that one reading specialist be provided in each elementary school at the discretion of the local school board.

Additional information on SOL performances on tests during 2018-19, including pass rates for schools and school divisions – is available at the VDOE Website and on the online School Quality Profiles.

2018-2019 SOL Pass Rates by Subject Area

Table 1: Reading

Student Group2016-20172017-20182018-2019
All Students807978
Economically Disadvantaged676665
English Learners643635
Students with Disabilities474847

Table 2: English Writing

Student Group2016-20172017-20182018-2019
All Students797876
Economically Disadvantaged646461
English Learners522723
Students with Disabilities424239

Table 3: Mathematics

Student Group2016-20172017-20182018-2019
All Students797782
Economically Disadvantaged686672
English Learners684959
Students with Disabilities484755

Table 4: Science

Student Group2016-20172017-20182018-2019
All Students828181
Economically Disadvantaged696968
English Learners583638
Students with Disabilities525051

Table 5: History/Social Science

Student Group2016-20172017-20182018-2019
All Students868480
Economically Disadvantaged757368
English Learners725247
Students with Disabilities595752

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