COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

 

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 158

July 30, 2004

 

INFORMATIONAL


TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Calculating Accreditation Ratings for the 2004-2005 School Year

 

At its meeting on July 21, the Board of Education took action to provide flexibility as allowable in 8 VAC 20-131-280 of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia in the use of certain history and social science tests for calculating accreditation ratings for schools. Based on feedback the department received from division superintendents, principals, and teachers the department recommended to the Board of Education delaying the inclusion of results from the new, "breakout" upper elementary/middle United States History I (to 1877), United States History II (1877 to the Present), and Civics and Economics topical tests in accreditation ratings for 2004-2005, allowing the department time to analyze the results and prepare impact data for the board. The Board of Education approved that recommendation.

 

These tests will only be used in the accreditation calculation if the results benefit the school. The decision includes those schools that only offered the breakout tests as well as those that offered both the breakout tests and the cumulative fifth- and/or eighth-grade tests. The cumulative tests will be included in the calculations where they were administered. Each breakout test will be considered separately in making that decision.

 

As you know, the requirements to be rated fully accredited change for schools housing grades three and five. The pass rate requirement for English increases to 75 percent and the results of tests in science and history for grade 3 will be used in calculating the rating. The required pass rate for science and history for grade 3 is 50 percent. The pass rate for grade 5 science and history remains at 70 percent. We will continue to combine the third- and fifth-grade English and the third- and fifth-grade mathematics as we have in the past, but the pass rates for both grades 3 and 5 in science and history will stand alone.

 

Questions regarding the calculation of accreditation ratings should be directed to Mrs. Shelley Loving-Ryder, assistant superintendent for assessment and reporting, or her staff at (804) 225-2102. Questions regarding other accreditation issues should be directed to Mr. Charles W. Finley, assistant superintendent for educational accountability, or the staff in the Office of Accreditation at (804) 786-1062.