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Pass rates on the 2017-2018 Virginia SOLs were little changed from 2016-17 pass rates

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released results Aug. 22 of Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments taken by students during the 2017-2018 school year.

Although rates dipped a bit from the 2016-17 school year, “Virginia has challenging standards and assessments, and students are performing at a much higher level today than when the state raised expectations six years ago,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane was quoted as saying in a news release. “

Pass rates are not the only measure of school quality, Lane said. If we focus solely on annual pass rates, we miss the achievement of students who are making steady progress toward the benchmarks and the efforts of schools to address issues that directly affect learning and achievement. These factors are captured in the new accreditation system, and the ratings we will report next month will provide a more complete picture of where schools are today and where they can be enhanced in the future,” he added.
         
According to the news release, pass rates on the 2017-2018 SOLs were little changed from the previous year, with students performing as follows:
·      79 percent of the students who took reading tests passed, compared with 80 percent during 2016-2017;
·      78 percent passed in writing, compared with 79 percent previously;
·      77 percent passed in mathematics, compared with 79 percent in 2016-2017;
·      81 percent passed SOL tests in science, compared with 82 percent previously; and
·      84 percent of students tested in history and social studies passed, compared with 86 percent in 2016-2017.

Under the revised Standards of Accreditation approved by the Board of Education in November 2017, school quality indicators for English and mathematics will include the academic growth of students making significant progress toward meeting state benchmarks. Schools will also be evaluated on progress in closing achievement gaps in English and mathematics, raising overall achievement in science and reducing chronic absenteeism. High schools will also be evaluated on their success in raising graduation rates and reducing dropout rates.

“An emphasis on overall pass rates can obscure the needs of groups of students who require additional support, both inside the classroom and in the community,” Lane said. “Under the new accreditation standards, schools and school divisions are required to develop and implement plans to address achievement gaps and ensure that all students have the resources they need to succeed.”

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