Superintendent's Memo #112-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

April 15, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Update to Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia Delay in Implementation

In 2009, the Board of Education adopted revisions to its Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia. Some revisions are currently in effect.  Other revisions will become effective in the 2011-2012 school year and the remaining ones in the 2012-2013 school year and beyond, because of legislation passed by the 2011 General Assembly (HB 1554 and SB 810).  This memorandum specifies the time line for implementation of all revisions approved by the Board in 2009.

Provisions Effective in 2010-2011

The following requirements contained in the Board’s Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia are currently in effect:

Records and Testing

  1. Double Testing:  No student shall take more than one test in any content area in each year.  (Reference:  Student Achievement Expectations - 8 VAC 20-131-30 [paragraph B].) 

  2. Student Records:  The State Testing Identifier (STI) for students who transfer into a Virginia public school from another Virginia public school must be retained by the receiving school.  (References:  Transfer Students - 8 VAC 20-131-60 [paragraphs A and E] and Application of the Standards – 8 VAC 20-131-300 [paragraph B]).

Units of Credit

  1. Virtual Virginia: Credits earned through Virtual Virginia must be accepted in Virginia public schools.  (Reference:  Transfer Students - 8 VAC 20-131-60 [paragraph C].)

Accreditation

  1. Graduation and Completion Index:  Beginning with graduation rate data for the 2010-2011 school year, this index will be a factor in the calculation of accreditation ratings for 2011-2012 and beyond. 

Provisions Effective in 2011-2012

Accreditation

  1. Graduation and Completion Index:  Effective with the 2011-2012 school year, the accreditation rating for schools with a graduating class will be based on testing and graduation data from the previous school year.  (References:  Expectations for School Accountability - 8 VAC 20-131-280 [paragraph B.2] and Application of the Standards - 8 VAC 20-131-300 [paragraph C]). 

The following point values will be used in calculating the Graduation and Completion Index rating:

Point Values Assigned to Graduation and Completion Index

Diploma/Certificate/Other

Point Value

Board recognized diplomas

100

GED

75

Still in school

70

Certificates of Program Completion

25

A benchmark of 85 points must be met for a school to earn a rating of Fully Accredited.  The regulations provide for a five-year phase-in period where a school can earn a rating of Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate if it is within one to five points of the benchmark.  Schools receiving a rating of Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate must undergo an academic review.  (References:  Expectations for School Accountability – 8 VAC 20-131-280 [paragraph B] and Action Requirements for Schools that are Accredited with Warning or Provisionally Accredited – Graduation Rate - 8 VAC 20-131-310 [paragraph A]).

  1. Accreditation Benchmarks – Accreditation Ratings awarded in the 2011-2012 school year (based on testing and graduation rate data from the 2010-2011 school year) will be based on the following benchmarks:

Benchmarks for Fully Accredited Ratings Awarded in the 2011-2012 School Year 
(Based on Testing and Graduation Rate Data from 2010-2011 School Year)

Subject

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grades 6 to 12

English

75%

75%

75%

70%

Mathematics

70%

70%

70%

70%

Science

50%

 

70%

70%

History/Social Science

50%

70%

70%

70%

Graduation and Completion Index (for schools with a graduating class)

 

 

 

85 pts./80 pts.*


*Provisionally Accredited – Graduation Rate

Units of Credit/Graduation Requirements

The following graduation requirements related to the Standard and Advanced Studies Diplomas contained in the Board’s Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia will become effective with the 9th-grade class entering in the 2011-2012 school year:

  1. Advanced Studies Diploma - The number of standard units of credit will increase from 24 to 26 credits while the number of verified credits will stay at nine.  Please see the attachment for a detailed chart of the changes to this diploma.  (Reference:  Requirements for Graduation - 8 VAC 20-131-50 [paragraph D]).

  2. Credit Requirements – There are changes to credit requirements for Fine Arts and Career and Technical Education (CTE) as well as electives for both the Standard and Advanced Studies Diplomas.  Please see the attachment for detailed charts showing the changes for both diplomas.  (Reference:  Requirements for Graduation - 8 VAC 20-131-50 [paragraphs B and D]).

  3. Courses Approved to Satisfy Graduation Requirements – There are changes to credit requirements related to courses approved to satisfy the requirements for graduation which are found in the footnotes in the regulations for the Standard and Advanced Studies diplomas.  For the Standard Diploma, the changes include permitting the Algebra Functions and Data Analysis course to be used to satisfy the mathematics requirements and permitting a sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma to be used to meet the science requirement. Please review the section of the regulations - Requirements for Graduation - 8 VAC 20-131-50 (paragraphs B and D) for a comprehensive listing of these footnotes.

  4. Economics and Personal Finance – To receive a Standard and Advanced Studies Diploma, a student must earn one standard unit of credit in economics and personal finance.  (Reference:  Requirements for Graduation - 8 VAC 20-131-50 [paragraphs B and D]).

The Department will be offering economics and personal finance through Virtual Virginia in the 2011-2012 school year.  Other resources related to this requirement can be found at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/economics_personal_finance/index.shtml

Provisions Effective in 2012-2013

The following requirements related to the Board’s Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia will become effective with the 2012-2013 school year:

Accreditation

  1.  Accreditation Benchmarks – Accreditation Ratings awarded in the 2012-2013 school year (based on test and graduation rate data from the 2011-2012 school year) will be based on the following benchmarks:

Benchmarks for Fully Accredited Ratings Awarded in the 2012-2013 School Year
(Based on Testing and Graduation Rate Data from 2011-2012 School Year)

Subject

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grades 6 to 12

English

75%

75%

75%

70%

Mathematics

70%

70%

70%

70%

Science

50%

 

70%

70%

History/Social Science

50%

70%

70%

70%

Graduation and Completion Index (for schools with a graduating class)

 

 

 

85 pts/81 pts.*


*Provisionally Accredited – Graduation Rate

Graduation Requirements

  1. Technical Diplomas - The requirements for the Standard Technical and Advanced Technical Diplomas will now begin with the 9th-grade class entering in the 2012-2013 school year.  (Reference:  Requirements for Graduation - 8 VAC 20-131-50 [paragraphs C and E]).

There is no language in either HB 1554 and SB 810 or in the regulations that prohibits a school division from making these diplomas available to students who entered the 9th-grade prior to 2012-2013.  In other words,  a student who entered the 9th-grade prior to 2012-2013, and who graduates in 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, or 2014-2015 could receive either technical diploma if it is the student’s wish and the requirements for the diploma have been met.  A school division is not required to offer any curriculum or scope of services for the technical diplomas beyond what is currently being offered within the school division nor is it required to award either technical diploma to students who entered the 9th-grade prior to 2012-2013.

Academic and Career Plan

  1. Career Pathways - Beginning in middle school, all students must have an Academic and Career Plan. (Reference:  College and Career Preparation Programs and Opportunities for Postsecondary Credit - 8 VAC 20-131-140).

There is nothing that prohibits a school division from implementing the Academic and Career Plan prior to the 2012-2013 school year.  More information on the Academic and Career Plan can be found at:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/graduation/academic_career_plan/index.shtml.

Provisions Effective in 2013-2014 and Beyond

Accreditation

Accreditation ratings in 2013-2014, calculated using data from the 2012-2013 school year, will be based on new pass rate benchmarks in third-grade science and history and social science; and in English, grades 6 – 12, as well as on the advancing benchmarks for the Graduation and Completion Index, if applicable. (Reference:  Application of the Standards - 8 VAC 20-131-300 [paragraph C]).

Benchmarks for Fully Accredited Ratings Awarded in the 2013-2014 School Year and Beyond
(Based on Testing and Graduation Rate Data from 2012-2013 and beyond)

Subject

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grades 6 to 12

 

 

 

 

 

English

75%

75%

75%

75%

Mathematics

70%

70%

70%

70%

Science

70%

 

70%

70%

History/Social Science

70%

70%

70%

70%

Graduation and Completion Index (for schools with a graduating class)

 

 

 

85 pts./82 pts.*

2013-2014

85 pts./83 pts.*

2014-2015

85 pts./84 pts.*

2015-2016

*Provisionally Accredited – Graduation Rate.  This rating will no longer be awarded after the 2015-2016 School Year.

Within the next few months, the Board of Education will begin the process of revising all of the language in the regulations to comport to the legislative mandates from the 2011 General Assembly.  Information on the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia can be found at:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/boe/accreditation/index.shtml.  Please check this Web site frequently for updated information.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Office of Policy at (804) 225-2092, or you may send your questions or comments by e-mail to policy@doe.virginia.gov.

PIW/MMV/kfg

Attachment:

  1. Requirements for the Standard and Advanced Studies Diploma (PDF)