Governor McAuliffe signs off on bill that will cut the number of Standards of Learning tests given to elementary and middle school students.
Governor McAuliffe signed into law a bipartisan bill that will eliminate five Standards of Learning (SOL) tests currently administered to elementary and middler schoolers, taking the total number from 22 down to 17. The Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill No. 930 (which is identical to Senate Bill No. 306) back in March, and the Governor gave it his official OK last Friday, April 4th. Testing changes will go into effect next year.
From House Bill No. 930/Senate Bill No. 306:
The Standards of Learning assessments administered to students in grades three through eight shall not exceed (a) reading and mathematics in grades three and four; (b) reading, mathematics, and science in grade five; (c) reading and mathematics in grades six and seven; (d) reading, writing, mathematics, and science in grade eight; and (e) Virginia Studies and Civics and Economics once each at the grade levels deemed appropriate by each local school board.
This means that third graders will no longer take standardized tests on social studies and science. It also eliminates the fifth grade writing test, as well as two U.S. history tests administered in middle school. Instead, school boards will be required “to annually certify that it has provided instruction” and administered alternative project-based, hands-on assessments within these content areas.1
The law also calls for the creation of the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee–composed of parents, principals, counselors, superintendents, curriculum specialists, school board members, and lawmakers–which will make recommendations to the Board of Education and the General Assembly on how to improve the Commonwealth’s testing practices and offer ideas on bringing innovative teaching ideas into Virginia classrooms.
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