COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 117
June 4, 1999

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
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 charris@pen.k12.va.us.  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 cfinley@pen.k12.va.us.

PDS/cwf

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