28 Va. School Boards pass resolutions to revamp SOL tests - Smith Mountain Eagle: Local News

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28 Va. School Boards pass resolutions to revamp SOL tests

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Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:28 am

RICHMOND, VA - The school boards of 28 school divisions recently passed resolutions calling for state lawmakers to change Virginia's public education accountability system so that it:

• eliminates the current pattern of over-testing by reducing the 34 Standards of Learning (SOL) tests taken by students in grades 3-11;

• includes assessments in lieu of the SOL tests, which can more accurately determine growth in student achievement;

* uses more reliable and valid measures of students' attainment of knowledge and their application of analytical and problem-solving skills necessary for their futures;

• better prepares students for college and careers;

• allows for failing students to retake tests when they are ready rather than wait months; and

• takes into consideration a number of important factors when evaluating teachers, administrators and schools rather than over-emphasizing 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," according to Alan Seibert, Superintendent of Salem City Schools and the President of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. 

"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.  Students and parents in Virginia deserve authentic measures of individual student growth and teachers deserve access to new tools that demonstrate the progress that their students are making."


Steve Staples, the former superintendent of York County Schools and the current Executive Director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS), said "We want accountability, but the current system has served its purpose and it is not currently meeting the 21st Century needs of students."  He added, "The momentum is growing in the state to revamp the system as many more school boards are considering adopting resolutions, major education organizations in the state are organizing to promote these changes together, local chambers of commerce are considering their own resolutions, and members of the General Assembly are beginning to listen." He added, "We are seeing similar rejections of the over-use of testing in other states across the country - states like Texas and Connecticut."


The Virginia school boards who have adopted resolutions include:


1.       Albemarle County


2.       Appomattox County

3.       Bristol City

4.       Charlottesville City

5.       Clarke County

6.       Colonial Heights

7.       Covington City

8.       Cumberland County

9.       Fauquier County

10.   Frederick County

11.   Gloucester County

12.   Greensville/Emporia

13.   Halifax City

14.   King William County

15.   Middlesex County

16.   New Kent County

17.   Prince Edward County

18.   Prince William County

19.   Rappahannock County

20.   Richmond County

21.   Salem City

22.   Scott County

23.   Smyth County

24.   Staunton City

25.   Tazewell County

26.   Westmoreland County

27.   Williamsburg/James City

28.   York County

To see an example of the resolutions being passed by the boards of education, go to the Virginia Association of School Superintendents website at www.vassonline.org



Other Womack Publishing Company websites include: wpcva.com, aconews.com, vancnews.com, and montgomeryherald.com