COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 83
April 23, 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.   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.

Enclosures include the following forms which will be used in 
audits of the spring 1999 non-writing SOL tests:

* Audit Information Sheet
* Observation Checklist
* Post-Test Examiner Protocol
* Post-Test School Test Coordinator (STC)      
  Protocol      
* Post-Test Division Director of Testing (DDOT) 
  Protocol
* Evaluation of the Auditor and Audit Process
* SOL Assessment Auditor Sample Letter of      
   Introduction 
* Notification of Test Audit

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 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 
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.  

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

Enclosures:     A hard copy of this memo and its attach-
                ment will be sent to the superintendent's
                office.