SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 117
August 14, 1998
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Transmitting Current Version of the Standards of Quality|
In 1992, the Board of Education published a document entitled Standards and Regulations for Public Schools in Virginia. That document included the Standards of Quality, the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, and an index of the Regulations of the Board of Education. As you know, the Standards of Quality represents the statutory framework that establishes the minimal requirements for educational programs in the Virginia public schools. As with any other state laws, the SOQ is subject to being amended during each legislative session. Consequently, the SOQ as set forth in the 1992 document is not current. Attached is a copy of the Standards of Quality, 22.1-253.13:1 through 22.1-253.13:8, as amended by the 1998 General Assembly. Please note changes in the following key provisions of the SOQ. The changes and/or additions are shown in italics as follows: Amended 22.1-253.13:1 B The current educational objectives, known as the Standards of Learning, shall not be construed to be regulations as defined in 9-6.14:4; however, the Board of Education may, from time to time, revise these educational objectives to maintain academic rigor. With such funds as are made available for this purpose, the Board shall regularly review and revise the competencies for vocational education programs to require the full integration of English, mathematics, science and social studies Standards of Learning. Occupational vocational programs shall be aligned with industry and professional standard certifications, where they exist. The Standards of Learning in all subject areas shall be subject to regular review and revision to maintain rigor and to reflect a balance between content knowledge and the application of knowledge in preparation for eventual employment and lifelong learning. The Board shall seek to ensure that any revised educational objectives are consistent with the world's highest educational standards. These objectives shall include, but not be limited to, basic skills of communication, computation and critical reasoning including problem solving and decision making and the skills to manage personal finances and to make sound financial decisions, and the development of personal qualities such as self-esteem, sociability, self-management, integrity, and honesty. With such funds as are available for this purpose, the Board of Education may prescribe assessment methods to determine the level of achievement of these objectives by all students. Such assessments shall evaluate knowledge, application of knowledge, critical thinking, and skills related to the Standards of Learning being assessed. The Board, with the assistance of independent testing experts, shall conduct a regular analysis and validation process for these assessments. By July 1, 1999, the Board shall develop and approve objectives for mathematics, at the middle and high school levels, for personal living and finances, which shall focus on money management skills for individuals and families. The personal living and finances objectives shall require instruction in those skills necessary to handle personal business and finances and shall include, but need not be limited to, the following: opening a bank account and how to judge the quality of a bank's services; balancing a check book; completing a loan application; the implications of an inheritance; the basics of personal insurance policies; consumer rights and responsibilities; dealing with salesmen and merchants; debt management, including retail and credit card debt; state and federal tax computation; local tax assessments; computation of interest rates by various mechanisms; understanding simple contracts; and how to contest an incorrect bill. These personal living and finances objectives shall not be required to be included in the Board's Standards of Learning, and shall be developed in a manner to ensure that instruction in the Standards of Learning shall not be de-emphasized. The Board shall not be required to evaluate student achievement concerning such objectives in the Standards of Learning Assessment Tests required by 22.1-253.13:3. Amended 22.1-253.13:1 C Local school boards shall develop and implement a program of instruction for grades K through 12 which emphasizes reading, writing, speaking, mathematical concepts and computations, technological proficiency, and scientific concepts and processes.... Local school boards shall also develop and implement programs of prevention, intervention, or remediation for students who are educationally at risk including, but not limited to, those whose scores are in the bottom national quartile on Virginia State Assessment Program Tests, who do not pass the literacy tests prescribed by the Board of Education, or who fail to achieve a passing score on any Standards of Learning assessment in grades three, five, and eight. Such programs may include summer school for all elementary and middle school grades and for all high school academic courses, as defined by regulations promulgated by the Board of Education, or other forms of remediation. Any student who does not pass the literacy tests or all Standards of Learning assessments in grades three, five, and eight shall be required to attend a summer school program or participate in another form of remediation. State funds shall be provided, as set forth in the appropriation act, for the attendance in remediation programs conducted by local school divisions for those students who do not pass the literacy tests beginning with the 1997-1998 fiscal year and for students who do not pass all Standards of Learning assessments in grades three, five, and eight beginning with the 1998-99 fiscal year. Such remediation programs shall include, when applicable, a procedure for early identification of students who are at-risk of failure of the literacy tests or the Standards of Learning assessments in grades three, five, and eight. Amended 22.1-253.13:1 F In addition to the positions supported by basic aid and in support of regular school year remedial programs, state funding, pursuant to the appropriation act, shall be provided to fund certain full-time equivalent instructional positions for each 1,000 students in grades K through 12 estimated to score in the bottom national quartile on Virginia State Assessment Program Tests and those who fail the literacy tests or Standards of Learning assessments for grades three, five, and eight prescribed by the Board. Amended 22.1-253.13:1 G School boards shall, however, annually, on or before January 1, report to the public the actual pupil/teacher ratios in elementary school classrooms by school for the current school year. Such actual ratios shall include only the teachers who teach the grade and class on a full-time basis and shall exclude resource personnel. School boards shall report pupil/teacher ratios which include resource teachers in the same annual report. Any classes funded through the voluntary kindergarten through third grade at-risk student/lower ratio program shall be identified as such classes. Any classes having waivers to exceed the requirements of this subsection shall also be identified. Schools shall be identified; however, the data shall be compiled in a manner to ensure the confidentiality of all teacher and pupil identities. Amended 22.1-253.13:3 B In establishing course and credit requirements for a high school diploma, the Board shall provide for the selection of integrated learning courses meeting the Standards of Learning and approved by the Board to satisfy graduation credit requirements which shall include Standards of Learning Testing, as necessary. The Board shall include in the student outcome measures, which are required by the Standards for Accreditation, end-of- course or end-of-grade tests for various grade levels and classes, as determined by the Board, in accordance with the Standards of Learning. These Standards of Learning assessments shall include, but need not be limited to, end-of-course or end-of-grade tests for English, mathematics, science, and social studies. The requirements for a standard or advanced studies high school diploma shall include one credit in fine, performing, or practical arts. The requirements for a standard high school diploma may include a concentration of courses selected from a variety of options. Such concentration may be planned to ensure the completion of a focused sequence of elective courses leading to further education or preparation for employment developed by the school division consistent with Board of Education guidelines and as approved by the local school board. Amended 22.1-253.13:3 D The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall develop and the Board of Education shall approve criteria for determining and recognizing educational performance in the Commonwealth's public school divisions and schools. Such criteria, when approved, shall become an integral part of the accreditation process and shall include student outcome measurements. One year following the approval by the Board of such criteria, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall annually identify to the Board those school divisions and schools that exceed or do not meet the approved criteria. Such identification shall include an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of public education programs in the various school divisions in Virginia and recommendations to the General Assembly for further enhancing student learning uniformly across the Commonwealth. The Department of Education shall conduct technical assistance visits for local school divisions. Schools accredited with a warning shall be given priority for such assistance, which shall include an analysis of relevant school data and the development and implementation of improvement plans to assist such schools in improving their accreditation status. Amended 22.1-253.13:3 H In order to assess the educational progress of students as individuals and as groups, each local school board shall require the administration of appropriate assessments, which may include criterion-referenced tests, teacher-made tests and alternative assessment instruments and shall include the Virginia State Assessment Program, the Virginia State Literacy Testing Program, the Standards of Learning Assessments, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress state-by-state assessment. Each school board shall analyze and report annually, in compliance with any criteria which may be established by the Board of Education, the results from the Virginia State Assessment Program, the Standards of Learning Assessments, and the Virginia State Literacy Testing Program to the public. Amended 22.1-253.13:3 I To assist school divisions in implementing those programs and practices that will enhance pupil academic performance and improve family and community involvement in the public schools, and from such funds as may be appropriated for such purpose, there shall be established within the Department of Education a unit to conduct evaluative studies and to provide the resources and technical assistance to increase the capacity of school divisions to deliver quality instruction. Such unit shall identify and analyze effective instructional programs and practices and professional development initiatives; evaluate the success of programs encouraging parental and family involvement; assess changes in student outcomes prompted by family involvement; and collect and disseminate among school divisions information regarding effective instructional programs and practices, initiatives promoting family and community involvement, and potential funding and support sources. Such unit may also provide resources supporting professional development for administrators and teachers. In providing such information, resources, and other services to school divisions, the unit shall give priority to those divisions demonstrating a less than seventy percent passing rate on (i) all three Literacy Passport tests by students taking these tests for the first time or (ii) the Standards of Learning assessment tests. Amended 22.1-253.13:4 C Each local school board shall award diplomas to all secondary school students, including students who transfer from nonpublic schools or from home instruction, who earn the units of credit prescribed by the Board of Education, pass the prescribed literacy tests, and meet such other requirements as may be prescribed by the local school board and approved by the Board of Education. Provisions shall be made for students who transfer between secondary schools and from nonpublic schools or from home instruction as outlined in the standards for accreditation. Amended 22.1-253.13:4 F The Board of Education shall develop criteria for recognizing exemplary performance in vocational studies by students who have completed the requirements for a standard or advanced studies diploma and shall award seals on the diplomas of students meeting such criteria. Amended 22.1-253.13:5 C Consistent with the finding that leadership is essential for the advancement of public education in the Commonwealth, the Board of Education shall develop leadership standards for superintendents and principals. Amended 22.1-253.13:5 D The Board of Education shall sponsor, conduct or provide advice on (i) training and professional development of teachers, principals, supervisors, division superintendents and other school staff and; (ii) in-service programs for school board members on personnel, curriculum and current issues in education; and (iii) in cooperation with the Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped, in-service programs in Braille for teachers of the blind and visually impaired. The Board shall provide technical assistance on professional development to local school boards designed to seek to ensure that all instructional personnel are proficient in the use of educational technology consistent with its Six-Year Educational Technology Plan for Virginia. If you should have any questions regarding this memo or the changes to the SOQ, please do not hesitate to contact me or Diane Atkinson, Assistant Superintendent for Policy and Public Affairs at (804) 225-2403. PDS/cci Attachment: A hard copy of this memo and its attachments will be sent to the superintendent's office.