RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia SOL testing will have a new focus this spring and summer.
On Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said that Standard of Learning testing will focus on determining the instructional needs of students and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lane said that when schools review test results this spring and summer their focus should be on student needs rather than accreditation or teacher evaluation.
“The results of the SOL tests will be used differently this year. The results are needed to inform what teachers and schools do next with our students,” Lane said. “Teachers and principals need to know exactly how kids are doing so they can design instruction and provide support to students over the summer and throughout the next school year that meet their unique academic needs. The SOL tests will provide critical information on where our students are excelling and where they are struggling in a way that is consistent from school to school.”
In a video message to schools and parents, Lane said that performance data from spring SOL testing will be important as schools design instructional and remedial programs aimed to help students recover after a year of virtual learning and school closures amid the pandemic.
Last year, Lane used emergency authority to waive state accreditation for 2021-2022; however, the U.S. Department of Education is still requiring states to administer reading, mathematics and science tests this spring.
VDOE is striving to protect the health of students and minimize stress during test-taking. Students will be able to have additional instruction before taking an assessment.
“Every school division will be bringing students in for tests while still practicing physical distancing and requiring the use of masks,” Lane said. “I encourage parents with questions about the health and safety protocols that will be in place during testing to talk to their principals about their concerns.”