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Testing increases across Virginia in elementary, middle schools

Elementary and middle school students will take two rounds of tests this year and three rounds next year

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Virginia elementary and middle school students will take two rounds of tests this school year and three rounds next school year.

The new tests are mandated by legislation (House Bill 2027 and Senate Bill 1357) approved by the 2021 General Assembly. For 2021-2022, the legislation calls for the administration of fall growth assessments in reading and math, in addition to the end-of-year Standards of Learning tests students will take next spring.

Full implementation of the legislation will occur during the 2022-2023 school year with reading and math growth assessments in grades 3-8 administered three times during the year: in the fall, mid-year, and spring.

“These new assessments are timely in that they will provide teachers and other educators with baseline data showing exactly where students are in reading and mathematics as they return to school after the disruptions to learning caused by the pandemic,” said James Lane, superintendent of public instruction. “Teachers will use performance data from the fall tests to craft instruction that meets the individual needs of every student, with the goal of achieving proficiency or significant growth by the end of the year.”

For this year only, the fall growth assessments are based on content from the previous grade level to assist in the identification of unfinished learning from 2020-2021 due to the pandemic. Results from next spring’s grade 3-8 reading and math SOL tests will capture student growth during the year, in addition to providing summative data for use in calculating school accreditation ratings.

“I want to emphasize that the new growth assessments are not SOL tests and they will be noticeably shorter than other state assessments given at the end of students’ courses,” Lane said.

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