SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 117
June 4, 1999
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Actions of the Board of Education Relative to School Accountability and Accreditation|
At its meeting on May 27, the Board of Education took two significant actions relating to the provisions of 8 VAC 20-131-280 of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia to address accountability tolerances for schools. Specifically, the actions set tolerances for students with limited English proficiency and for transfer students. The two actions, which become effective with the 1999-2000 administration of Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, are summarized below and copies of the entire resolutions are attached. Limited English Proficiency (English as a Second Language) Students identified as limited English proficient are expected to take and pass SOL tests. These students continue to have available a one-time exemption from SOL tests at grades 3, 5, or 8 and they must be found eligible to receive ESL services in accordance with federal guidelines in order to take advantage of this accommodation. The scores of students taking the SOL tests will not be counted when calculating the school's accreditation rating if the student(s) have been enrolled in school fewer than eleven semesters. Student Mobility and Transfer Students Students who transfer into Virginia schools are also expected to take and pass SOL tests required by the standards. However, the Board approved the following policies related to students who transfer into Virginia schools: 1. SOL test scores of students who transfer from one school in a school division to another school in the same division will be included in the calculation of a school's accreditation rating. 2. SOL test scores of students who transfer from another Virginia school division or another state at grades 3, 5, and 8 will not be included in the calculation of a school's accreditation rating if the transfer occurs after the 20th instructional day following the opening of school. 3. SOL end-of-course test scores for students who transfer into a Virginia middle or high school from another school division or another state will not be used in the calculation of a school's accreditation rating if the transfer occurs after 20 instructional hours have elapsed following the opening of school or the beginning of the semester, if applicable. The Board will continue to study issues surrounding concerns about the requirement of verified units of credit for high school graduation and the impact of the requirement on certain transfer students. Recommendations for long-term solutions will be developed at a later date. Questions relating to SOL testing should be directed to Ms. Cameron Harris, assistant superintendent for assessment and reporting, at 804-225-2102, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions relating to school accreditation should be directed to Mr. Charles W. Finley, director of accreditation, at 804-786-9421, or by e-mail to email@example.com. PDS/cwf Attachments: A hard copy of this memo and its attach- ments will be sent to the superintendent's office.