COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 45
March 5, 1999

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 1999.  A 
random sample of 10 percent 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 and 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:

* Spring 1999 SOL Writing Test, Observation     
        Checklist
* Spring 1999 SOL Writing Test, Post-Test Examiner      
        Protocol
* Spring 1999 SOL Writing Test, Post-Test School        
        Test Coordinator(STC) Protocol
* Spring 1999 SOL Writing Test, Post-Test Division      
        Director of Testing (DDOT) Protocol
* Spring 1999 SOL Writing Test, Audit Evaluation 
* Spring 1999 SOL Assessment Auditor Sample Letter
        of Introduction 

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 of Education 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 DDOT will be notified 
by fax 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 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 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 stationery 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 details.  

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 make the protocols as efficient and 
meaningful as possible.  

While information from the audit will be discussed in the exit 
interview, a more formal report will be provided to each school 
division and the Department of Education within 30 days of the 
close of the last audit.  Auditors will leave copies of all audit 
documents with the school and school division after 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.  We thank 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 attach-
                ment will be sent to the superintendent's
                office.