COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 229

November 12, 2004

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Use of Calculators on SOL Tests

 

The purpose of this memo is to provide you with information regarding the use of calculators on the Standards of Learning (SOL) science tests and to announce the approval of a new scientific calculator.

 

For the fall 2004 and spring 2005 administration, students will continue to use only a four-function calculator (i.e., add, subtract, multiply, and divide) or a calculator having percent and square root functions on the SOL science tests in grades 5 and 8.

 

Starting with the fall 2004 SOL test administration, students may use state-approved four-function, scientific, or graphing calculators on the end-of-course tests in Earth Science, Biology, and Chemistry. Items on all these end-of-course SOL science tests have been written so that there is no advantage to using a scientific or a graphing calculator when responding to the item.

 

Graphing calculators currently approved for use by the state are the following:

TI-83 Plus series, TI-84 Plus family, CASIO 9850G Plus series, and CASIO 9750G Plus series (SUPTS. MEMO NO. 128, June 18, 2004).

 

In addition, the Department of Education has approved a new scientific calculator, the Sharp EL-501WBBK, which may be used on the end-of-course science tests and on the spring 2005 field test in mathematics for grades 6 and 7. The Sharp EL-501V, which is no longer available for purchase, and the TI-30Xa Solar are also on the state-approved list (SUPTS. MEMO NO. 112, June 27, 2003).

 

If you have questions about the end-of-course science assessments, please contact Earl Jackson (mailto:ejackson@mail.vak12ed.edu), or Marcia Perry (mailto:mperry@mail.vak12ed.edu), Division of Assessment and Reporting at (804) 225-2102. If you have questions about the calculators, please contact Lois Williams (mailto:lwillia1@mail.vak12ed.edu), mathematics specialist, Division of Middle Instructional Services, at (804) 786-8078 or Deborah Bliss (mailto:dbliss@mail.vak12ed.edu), mathematics specialist, Division of Secondary Instruction, at (804) 786-6418.

 

JLD/SLR/jc