P.O. BOX 2120




February 21, 2003




Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Participation in Pilot Testing of New History Tests


Legislation in the 2000 General Assembly required development of three separate tests measuring the Standards of Learning addressed by the cumulative history test currently administered in either grade 7 or 8. The three tests will cover content taught in United States History I (to 1877), United States History II (1877 to the Present), and Civics and Economics. The intent of this legislation is to provide an opportunity for school divisions to administer the separate tests more closely to the time students complete the content. School divisions will continue to have flexibility in the grade levels at which the content is taught. The cumulative grade 8 History test will continue to be available for school divisions to administer. Depending on funding by the 2003 General Assembly, these new history tests may be implemented in 2003-2004 or later.


As part of the test development process, Harcourt Educational Measurement will be conducting pilot tests of the new history tests for United States History I (to 1877), United States History II (1877 to the Present), and Civics and Economics during the period of mid-May to mid-June, 2003. Pilot testing is necessary to ensure the technical quality of the test items.


A sample of approximately 15,000 students from across Virginia is needed to participate in the pilot for each test. There will be approximately 50-60 multiple-choice questions on each pilot test.


The Department of Education is seeking classrooms in your division to participate in the pilot testing. From the pool of volunteers, a sample will be selected that is representative of the state in terms of demographic factors such as geography, race/ethnicity, school and division sizes. Please indicate on the attached response form your willingness to participate in one or more pilot tests. If you choose to participate, please identify a contact person, the school or schools, the number of classrooms, and the approximate number of students for each pilot test. The response form must be completed and faxed to Donald Marsh, assessment specialist, at (804) 371-8978 by April 4, 2003.


Should you have questions or need additional information, please contact Mr. Marsh (, at (804) 225-2232. Thank you in advance for your assistance.