Superintendent's Memo #041-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

February 19, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Virginia Grade Level Alternative (VGLA) Participation Rates

Students with disabilities who meet certain criteria may participate in the Virginia Grade Level Alternative (VGLA). Students participating in the VGLA demonstrate their knowledge of Standards of Learning (SOL) grade level content through a collection of student work samples called a Collection of Evidence (COE). The Division of Student Assessment and School Improvement and the Division of Special Education and Student Services monitor state and division participation rates for the VGLA. Statewide VGLA participation rates for 2008-2009 for students with disabilities are displayed below by content area.


Content Area

2008-2009 VGLA State Participation Rate of Students with Disabilities

Reading

20.4%

Mathematics

19.9%

Science

4.7%

History/Social Science

7.0%

Writing

5.8%


VGLA participation rates for students with disabilities by content area for 2008-2009 are available for each school division on the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) website at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/participation/2008_09_VGLA_ParticipationbySubjectbyDiv.pdf.

VDOE staff are concerned about the increase in the numbers of students with disabilities participating in VGLA over the last few years. In an effort to ensure that the participation criteria are being applied appropriately to identify students for participation in the VGLA, the VDOE will be holding a series of Web conferences to assist school divisions. The first Web conference in the series will discuss the process for conducting a local examination of division participation practices. This Web conference will be held on March 18, 2010, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.; on March 19, 2010, from 9:30 a.m. to 11a.m.; and on March 22, 2010, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Registration information will be provided in a later correspondence. All school divisions with participation rates of 25 percent or higher for VGLA reading and/or VGLA mathematics will be notified under separate cover and will be required to participate in the series of VGLA Web conferences. Superintendents (or designees), division directors of testing and directors of special education are expected to attend each Web conference. School divisions with VGLA participation rates under 25 percent for reading and mathematics may also participate in these Web conferences; however, participation is not mandatory.

Questions regarding division level participation data for students with disabilities or the VGLA Web conferences should be directed to student assessment staff at student_assessment@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2102. Questions regarding VGLA participation criteria should be directed to Jeff Phenicie in the Division of Special Education and Student Services at Jeff.Phenicie@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 786-0308.

PIW/SLR/cb