COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO NO. 4
June 15, 2001
INTERPRETIVE
 
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Accreditation Issues

INTERPRETIVE SUPTS. MEMO NO. 2, July 24, 1998, addressing the purging of grades from transcripts of middle school students as allowed by 8 VAC 20-131-30 (C) of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia also addressed schedule changes for students enrolled in courses for high school credit. It has come to our attention that there are practices in some local school divisions that may give an impression of improprieties with the Standards of Learning end-of-course assessments and the requirements for school accountability.

Students in middle and secondary schools who are enrolled in courses for high school credit for which there are end-of-course tests are expected to take the tests during the semester in which they are expected to complete the courses. INTERPRETIVE SUPTS. MEMO NO. 2, July 24, 1998, which stated that school divisions may develop and implement policies regarding changing schedules or dropping and adding courses for middle school students who take courses for high school credit, is equally applicable to policies regarding changing of schedules or adding/dropping courses by secondary school students.

The development and implementation of such policies is the responsibility of local school boards. In developing such policies, please avoid giving the impression that the requirements of the assessment and accountability programs are being circumvented. One such policy would be one that would allow the student to change his/her schedule or drop a course just before the test is scheduled to be administered. As you review and revise your promotion and retention policies, note that the standards in 8 VAC 20-131-30 expressly prohibit policies that would " systematically exclude students from membership in a grade or course in which SOL tests are to be administered."

Questions regarding the assessment issues raised may be directed to Ms. Cameron Harris, assistant superintendent for assessment and reporting, by phone at 804-225-2102 or by e-mail to charris@pen.k12.va.us. Questions regarding accreditation issues should be directed to Charles W. Finley, assistant superintendent for accountability services, by phone to 804-786-9421 or by e-mail to cfinley@pen.k12.va.us.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

JLD/cwf/pfm