Standards of Learning Testing Begins May 7 in Frederick County Schools
Frederick County Public School students in grades three through 12 will be taking the non-writing Standards of Learning (SOL) tests from May 7 through June 5. Parents may contact their children’s individual schools for specific test schedule details by grade level and content. SOL test results are used by the Virginia Department of Education to determine which schools and school divisions earn accreditation. In addition, the results are used to determine which schools and school divisions make Adequate Year Progress under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Frederick County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Peter Vernimb says, “The SOL tests are important because the results are one of the tools used to measure the quality of our instructional program and whether our students and schools are meeting state and federal student achievement expectations. In addition, high school students must pass certain SOL tests in order to graduate. Teachers have been working since the first day of the school year to help students gain a strong knowledge of the material that will be included on the SOL tests. It’s important that each student takes the tests seriously and does their best.”
Virginia’s new math SOL exams will be administered for the first time this spring to students in grades three through eight as well as students enrolled in algebra I, geometry, and algebra II classes. The new tests are based on the mathematics Standards of Learning that were adopted by the state Board of Education in 2009. They are designed to assess the new content and increased rigor of the updated standards which are fully aligned with the national Common Core State Standards, meet national and international benchmarks for content and rigor, and are a key component of the state’s effort to promote college and career readiness.
The new math SOL tests include new, technology-enhanced items that will require students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills as well as mathematics content knowledge. The new technology-enhanced questions, which require answers to be indicated in a form other than a multiple choice format, make up between 10 and 15 percent of the questions on the new tests. Information on the new math SOL tests, including sample questions and a narrated demonstration of the new technology-enhanced items, can be found on the Virginia Department of Education’s website (http://www.doe.virginia.gov/).
Vernimb says, “Educators across Virginia anticipate that the pass rates on the new math SOL test will drop across the state this year. In this instance, lower pass rates are not an indication that students are not mastering math. Whenever more rigorous standards and tests have been introduced in Virginia, schools and school divisions see a temporary drop in pass rates. As the local curriculum and instructional strategies are adjusted to meet higher
expectations, pass rates will improve. As state Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright has pointed out, lower mathematics pass rates indicate that Virginia is expecting more of students, not that students are learning less.”
As SOL testing begins, parents can help assure their children are prepared by reviewing the material that’s been covered in class and by making certain their children are getting enough rest and are eating properly. Parents also should avoid planning doctor and dentalappointments and other activities that would force a student to miss school on test dates.
Attendance in school is very important as SOL tests are being administered. Parents also may assist their children by monitoring their progress in school through Frederick County Public Schools’ Edline program. Many teachers have posted SOL review material on their Edline sites. Edline is a web-based program which enables parents to view their children’s grades, classroom assignments and other important information. In order to access Edline, parents must register in person at each of their children’s schools.
Schools Superintendent David Sovine says, “Teachers and other staff members have worked hard again this year to engage students in the learning process. As we enter the SOL testing window, I’m anticipating our students will perform well on their SOL exams. As students are taking their SOL tests, it will be important for them to relax, concentrate and take their time. SOL tests are not timed, so students can take as much time as they need to complete each exam and do well.”
Between May 7 and June 5, Frederick County Public Schools expects to administer more than 28,000 SOL tests to students in grades three through 12. Ninety-nine percent of the tests will be administered online.
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