COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 52
April 3, 1998

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Standards of Learning Administration Audit Information

 
  The Department of Education will be conducting audits of the
  administration of the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests
  slated to be administered in the Spring of 1998.  A random
  sample of 10% of Virginia's schools will be audited.  There
  are two purposes for the audit:

       1)   to observe actual test administration procedures
              to see if prescribed procedures are being
              followed; and, 

       2)   to gather information on ways to improve
              procedures to maximize efficiency while
              maintaining security and standard procedures.

  Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement has trained a cadre
  of auditors who will conduct the audits in Virginia's
  schools.  Auditors were recruited throughout Virginia using
  a temporary employment agency. Minimal qualifications for
  auditors include a four-year college degree with a
  preference for retired educators.  Graduate education
  students enrolled in an advanced degree program within the
  state may be considered.  Auditor candidates cannot be
  currently employed by or have a relationship with personnel
  which might result in a conflict of interest. To qualify to
  conduct administration audits, each auditor has completed a
  full day of training on the assessment program and the audit
  procedures.  The training was conducted jointly by the
  Department of Education and Harcourt Brace Educational
  Measurement. 

  Attachments to this memo include:

       0 SOL Administration Audit - Observation Checklist
       0 SOL Administration Audit - Post-Test Examiner Protocol
       0 SOL Administration Audit - Post-Test School Test Coordinator
            (STC) Protocol
       0 SOL Administration Audit - Post Test DDOT Protocol
       0 SOL Administration Audit - Evaluation of the Auditor
            and Audit Process
       0 SOL Administration Audit - Sample Letter of Introduction 
       0 SOL Administration Audit - Audit Information Sheet

  We encourage you to share these materials with your staff. 
  While the audits themselves will be unannounced, it is not
  the intent of the Department to surprise anyone regarding
  what is to be observed or asked.  It is important that you
  share with your staff members and teachers the essence of
  the audits so that they are aware of the activity should
  their school be audited.  As noted in the attached
  procedures, your Division Director of Testing (DDOT) will be
  notified by FedEx a day ahead of any audit to be conducted
  in the school division.  The intent of this notification is
  to let the central office staff know that an auditor(s) will
  be present in the school division.  However, the
  notification will not include the names of the schools to be
  audited.  

  The audit procedures call for the auditor to meet with the
  School Test Coordinator (STC) in the school to be audited,
  observe one classroom during test administration, and
  conduct a post-observation meeting with the Examiner
  observed and the STC.  The principal of the school is
  encouraged to participate in the exit interview.  Auditors
  will also arrange to meet with the DDOT to discuss the
  audits conducted.  In the event that more than one school is
  being audited in a school division, a single exit interview
  will be conducted with the DDOT.  

  Auditors have been informed of the need to observe the
  protocol for visitors that is in effect for each school they
  visit.  Each auditor will carry a letter of introduction on
  Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement letterhead and will
  have photo identification available upon request.  Each
  auditor will also have a brief one-page audit explanation to
  provide staff members who might want further detail.  

  It is our intent that these visits be as unobtrusive as
  possible.  The protocols for the audit were field tested in
  four school divisions during the writing administration. 
  Feedback from this field test was used to adjust the
  protocols to be efficient and meaningful.  

  While information from the audit will be discussed in the
  exit interview, a more formal report will be provided to the
  school division and the Department within 30 days of the
  close of the last audit.  Auditors will leave copies of all
  audit documents with the school and school division once the
  audit is concluded.  An audit evaluation form will also be
  left with each person involved in the process in each
  school. 

  We look forward to observing many good practices across
  Virginia as the SOL tests are being administered.  The
  sharing of these good practices will hopefully be a
  by-product of the audit process.  The Department thanks you
  in advance for your cooperation in this activity.  Any
  questions you might have concerning the administration audit
  procedures can be directed to the staff of the Division of
  Assessment and Reporting at (804) 225-2102. 

  PDS/jc

  Attachments:   A hard copy of this memo and its attachment
                 will be sent to the superintendent's office