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Virginia school boards push for SOL overhaul

October 17th, 2013 11:15 pm by Stephen Igo

Virginia school boards push for SOL overhaul

RICHMOND — The local boards of 28 school divisions, including Scott and Tazewell counties and Bristol, Va., have passed resolutions calling for state lawmakers to makes changes in Virginia’s public education testing and accountability system known as the Standards of Learning (SOL).

According to the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, the 28 school boards that have thus far passed resolutions want lawmakers to eliminate the current pattern of “overtesting” by reducing the 34 SOL tests taken by students in grades 3-11, include assessments in lieu of SOL results to more accurately determine growth in student achievement, and use “more reliable and valid measures of students’ attainment of knowledge and their application of analytical and problem solving skills necessary for their futures.” 

The resolutions seek changes to “better (prepare) students for college and careers,” allow for failing students to retake tests when they are ready rather than wait for months, and take into consideration a number of other factors when evaluating teachers, administrators and schools rather than “overemphasizing SOL test results.” 

“Parents, educators, business leaders and legislators in both parties recognize that it’s time to change the status quo of using 20th century assessments when we are fully focused on ensuring that students acquire 21st century skills,” said Alan Seibert, superintendent of Salem City Schools and president of the VASS, in a press release issued on Thursday.

“The state’s current system of testing every student 34 times between grades 3-11 is as onerous as it surely is expensive, and efforts to use this one type of test for two purposes by means of a statistical approximation of student progress is seriously flawed,” he said.

Read more in the Friday print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition. 

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