SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 218
December 3, 1999
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Standards of Learning Assessment (SOL) Administration Audit Information|
As it did in the fall of 1998, the Department of Education will again conduct audits of the Standards of Learning Assessments (SOL) slated for the fall of 1999. A random sample of 10 percent of the schools tested in the fall semester will be audited. There are two purposes for the audit: 1) observe actual test administration procedures to confirm whether prescribed standardized procedures are being followed; and, 2) gather information on ways to improve procedures to maximize efficiency while maintaining standardized procedures and test security. Harcourt Educational Measurement has trained a cadre of auditors who will conduct the audits in Virginia's public schools. Auditors, many of whom have had experience as auditors during recent administrations of both the SOL program and the Virginia State Assessment Program (VSAP) Stanford 9, were recruited throughout Virginia. Each auditor has a four-year college degree; preference in hiring auditors was given to retired educators. Graduate education students enrolled in advanced degree programs within the state have also been hired as auditors. Additionally, auditors cannot be employed by or have any relationship with personnel which might result in a conflict of interest. To qualify to conduct administration audits, each auditor must have completed at least one full day of training by the Department of Education and Harcourt Educational Measurement on the SOL and on audit procedures. Attachments to this memo include: SOL Administration Audit - Sample Letter of Introduction SOL Administration Audit - Audit Information Sheet SOL Administration Audit - Observation Checklist SOL Administration Audit - Post-Test Examiner Survey SOL Administration Audit - Post-Test School Test Coordinator (STC) Survey SOL Administration Audit - Post-Test Division Director of Testing (DDOT) Survey SOL Administration Audit - Evaluation of the Auditor and Audit Process While the audits themselves will be unannounced, it is not the intent of the Department to surprise anyone regarding what is to be observed or asked, so we encourage you to share the attached materials with your staff. It is important that you share information about the audits with your staff members and teachers so that they are aware of the activity should their schools be audited. As noted in the attached procedures, your division director of testing (DDOT) will be notified by fax the day prior to any audit to be conducted in the school division. The intent of that notification is to let the central office staff know that an auditor or auditors will be in the school division. However, the notification will not include the name of the school to be audited. The audit procedures call for the auditor to meet with the school test coordinator (STC) in the school to be audited, observe the administration of one of the SOL tests in one classroom, and conduct post-observation meetings with the examiner and the STC. The principal of the school is encouraged to participate in these meetings. The auditor will also arrange to meet with the DDOT to discuss the audit that has been conducted. In the event that more than one school in the division has been selected for audit, a single interview will be conducted with the DDOT after all audits in the division have been completed. 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 the letterhead of Harcourt Educational Measurement, and will present photo identification upon request. Each auditor will also have a one-page audit information sheet to provide to school staff members who might want further detail. It is our intent that the audits be as unobtrusive, efficient, and useful as possible. While information from the audit will be discussed in the post-observation meetings with the examiner, STC, and DDOT, a more formal report will be provided to the school division and to the Department of Education within 30 days of the close of the final audit. Auditors will leave copies of all completed audit protocols with the STC and DDOT once the audit is concluded. An audit evaluation form will also be left with each person involved in the audit process in each school. During audits of previous SOL and VSAP administrations, we have observed many useful and innovative practices. These practices have been shared as a by-product of the audits, and we look forward to observing additional innovative practices during the upcoming SOL audits. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this activity. Any questions you might have concerning the SOL audit procedures can be directed to staff of the Division of Assessment and Reporting at (804) 225-2102. PDS/CMH/atb Attachments: A hard copy of this memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office.