Virginia Department of Education releases SOL scores

Gains and losses for RPS, still behind county schools.

The state has released the scores from last year’s Standards of Learning tests. According to the RTD, Richmond schools showed gains but overall still compare poorly to neighboring county schools.

But overall, the city had scores below 70 percent on 22 of the 34 assessments.

Students in Chesterfield and Hanover passed the 70 percent mark in every category, and students in Henrico made it in 29 of the 34.

Richmond students had six of the seven double-digit gains in the area, plus the only double-digit loss. In addition to Algebra I and geometry, Richmond showed big gains in 4th and 5th grade math (up 12 points in each) and biology and chemistry (up 10 points in each).

But 6th grade math was down 11 points.

You can check individual school’s scores on the VDOE website but quite frankly this one on RTD is much easier to use.

RVA Opt Out is one local group that is urging parents and students to not take part in the SOL testing. They and other opt out groups feel that standarized testing is not an effective tool for gauging education.

Below is what happens when a student chooses to “Opt Out”  according to the Virginia Department of Education.

The regulations do not provide for what is sometimes referred to as an “opt out policy” for students regarding the Virginia assessments. If, however, parents refuse to have their student participate in one or more of the required Virginia assessments, the following procedures should be followed within the school division:

  • The parents should be informed that their student’s score report will reflect a score of “0” for any test that is refused.
  • The school is strongly encouraged to request a written statement from parents indicating the specific test(s) the parents refuse to have their student complete. The document should be maintained in the student’s file as a record of the decision.
  • To account for the student, a test record for the refused test(s) is to be submitted for scoring with a Testing Status 5 coded to indicate the refusal to take the test.

In situations where a student’s test attempt is coded with a Testing Status 5, the “0” score on the test is included in the school and division pass rates calculated for the purpose of state accountability and for performance in federal accountability. Because the student receives a “0” score for the refused test, the school and division participation rates for federal accountability are not affected.

So as a result in a class with 20 students if 5 opt out, the class will have full participation but 25% of those will receive a score of zero. Obviously these skews the results.

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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