NCI assistant director to help shape future of state SOL tests

Melany Stowe appointed to state SOL Innovation Committee

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Melany Stowe is the assistant director at the New College Institute in Martinsville.

Gov. Ralph Northam has just appointed her and nine other people from across the state to serve on the SOL Innovation Committee.

"The first and foremost goal is to listen; listen and learn," Stowe said. "There are a lot of members on the committee who have been on the committee and there's a lot of information to be shared."

The 10 new members will serve alongside the 17 members the governor reappointed.

Stowe hopes the committee will develop ideas to allow teachers to teach rather than just make sure their students are successful on the SOL tests.

"If the measure mandated by the state is that students must be successful on a test, teachers care enough about children (that) they will make sure they're successful on a test," Stowe said.

"For this committee to focus on what good teaching looks like, it's very exciting, because there are examples all over the commonwealth. I know we're going to be looking at best practices."

SOL tests are taken by students at the end of each school year to measure how much they learned throughout the year.

The results help determine each school's accreditation status.

"The increased scrutiny on testing, I think, is a little much. The solution is not to do away with everything, because there are things that work. Accountability is essential," Stowe said.

In August, 10 News spoke to Martinsville Superintendent Dr. Zeb Talley about the district's SOL scores.

He said SOL tests are important, but they shouldn't be the only measurement of student success.

"I think it's great the way the state has now gone to looking at attendance and looking at some more things, because to have a well-rounded student you need all those things," Talley said.

The first meeting for this session of the Innovation Committee is Oct. 9.

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