COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 177
November 8, 1996

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Initial Information Regarding the New Virginia Assessment System

 
  On October 10, 1996, the Board of Education voted to proceed
  with the award of a contract for both the norm-referenced
  and the Standards of Learning components of the new
  assessment system to Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement
  (HBEM).  The prescribed notification period has lapsed and a
  contract has been signed by the Department of Education and
  HBEM.
  
  The assessment program represents the second part of a four-part
  initiative.  The first part was the adoption of the
  revised Standards of Learning; the second part is the
  assessment program; the third and fourth parts are the
  revision of the Standards of Accreditation and the
  development of a school and school division report card. 
  The attachment to this memo outlines the major aspects of
  the new program.  In the coming weeks, more detailed
  information will be sent to you.
  
  The Division of Assessment and Reporting will continue to
  work with school divisions, Division Directors of Testing,
  and HBEM to finalize the many aspects of this new program. 
  The Department extends its appreciation to those in the
  field who have helped us reach this milestone in the
  development of the new assessments.  We have established an
  aggressive time line to make this program a reality.  Your
  continued support and cooperation as we move to the next
  steps in implementation are greatly appreciated.
  
  Should you have questions regarding the new program, please
  call Ms. Cameron M. Harris, Director of Assessment and
  Reporting, at (804) 225-2102.
  
  RTL/mwc
  
  Attachment:     This memo and its attachment will be sent to
                  the superintendent's office.