Superintendent’s Memo #032-14

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

February 7, 2014

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Revisions to the List of Substitute Tests Approved for Verified Credit: Effective Beginning with the 2014-2015 School Year

The Standards for Accrediting Public Schools at 8VAC20-131-110 permit the Virginia Board of Education to approve “substitute” tests for the purpose of awarding verified credit.  The approved tests must meet the following criteria:

  1. The test must be standardized and graded independently of the school or school division in which the test is given;

  2. The test must be knowledge based;

  3. The test must be administered on a multistate or international basis, or administered as part of another state's accountability assessment program; and

  4. To be counted in a specific academic area, the test must measure content that incorporates or exceeds the SOL content in the course for which verified credit is given.

The current list of substitute tests approved by the Board of Education may be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/substitute_tests/index.shtml.  At the time that these tests were approved as substitute tests, they were judged to measure content that incorporated or exceeded the Standards of Learning (SOL) in effect. Because new SOL have been implemented in all subject areas over the last few years, it was necessary to review the current substitute tests to ensure that they still incorporated or exceeded the content of the current SOL and that the adopted cut scores for “proficient” and “advanced” were still appropriate. 

Virginia Department of Education staff evaluated the current substitute tests to determine if the content they measured incorporated or exceeded the current SOL.  Committees of educators were then convened to review the tests and evaluate the previously adopted cut scores. In some cases committee members verified the current cut scores.  In other cases they recommended revisions to the cut scores or recommended that a test be removed from the list.  The committees also reviewed several new tests that school divisions had recently submitted for potential addition to the substitute test list.  The recommendations of this committee were presented to the Virginia Board of Education.

On January 16, 2014, the Virginia Board of Education approved revisions to the list of substitute tests approved for verified credits. The list of tests approved as substitute tests for verified credit beginning with the 2014-2015 school year may be found in Attachment A and is posted at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/substitute_tests/index.shtml.  Please be aware that students who take substitute tests for verified credit should not be required to also take the corresponding SOL test.  If you have any questions, please contact the student assessment staff at student_assessment@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-2102.

PIW/SLR/cb

Attachment:

  1. SOL Substitute Tests for Verified Credit Effective Beginning with the 2014-2015 School Year (PDF)