DATE: September 29, 2017
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT:

Implementation of New Standards of Learning Test Blueprints for the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning


As stated in Superintendent's Memo No. 244-16, the Virginia Board of Education adopted the Revised 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning on September 22, 2016.  The memo also indicated that full implementation of the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning will occur in the 2018-2019 school year to include the administration of revised Standards of Learning tests to assess the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning.  In preparation for implementation of the new assessments measuring the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning, new test blueprints have been developed.

The assessments measuring the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning will be administered for the first time in the fall 2018 administration for only the End-of-Course (EOC) Algebra I, EOC Geometry, and EOC Algebra II tests.  The new Grades 3 through 8 Mathematics tests assessing the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning will be administered for the first time in the spring 2019 test administration.  The new 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning test blueprints for each of these new assessments are available at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/mathematics/2016/index.shtml.

Field Testing in Spring 2018

The revised mathematics test blueprints are being shared at this time to accommodate curriculum development and instructional planning.  It is imperative that all school division staff understand that the new blueprints do not become effective until 2018-2019; however, school divisions should begin teaching the new content from the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning in the 2017-2018 school year, as field-test items in spring 2018 will include new content from the 2016 Mathematics standards.  

Plain English Mathematics

Beginning with the implementation of the SOL tests assessing the 2016 Mathematics standards, Plain English mathematics test forms will no longer be administered as all test items now used on mathematics SOL tests meet the criteria for Universal Design.  The Universal Design principles require that language that is not specific to the content area (e.g., mathematics) be simplified and that test questions be written so they are accessible by all populations of students.  The SOL test questions have been reviewed by Virginia teachers and have been determined to meet the criteria for Universal Design.

The Plain English test form assessing the Algebra I 2009 SOL will continue to be available for those students accruing verified credits for graduation who were instructed in Algebra I prior to the 2018-2019 school year and were eligible to complete the Plain English Algebra I test form.

Practice Opportunities for Students

Practice test questions will be available for each mathematics SOL test (Grades 3 through 8 and EOC).  These practice questions will provide students an opportunity to become familiar with the types of test questions that will be administered as part of the new mathematics tests.  Practice questions must be accessed via the installable TestNav 8 application.  See the TestNav 8 Technical Assistance Document for information on the system requirements to access TestNav 8, along with instructions for downloading the TestNav 8 applicationThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website. Guided practice suggestions will accompany the practice test questions to provide specific guidance for teachers or other adults to lead students through these items.  Practice test questions will be available on the Virginia Department of Education website in spring 2018.  School divisions will be notified when these practice items have been posted. 

Ancillary Materials

New formula sheets have been developed for use with the Grades 6 through 8 and EOC Mathematics tests.  These formula sheets will first be used for the EOC Mathematics tests administered in fall 2018 and for the Grades 6 through 8 Mathematics tests administered in spring 2019.  School divisions will be notified when these formula sheets have been posted on the Virginia Department of Education website.

Some EOC Algebra II SOL test items will require students to analyze properties of normal distributions and apply those properties to determine probabilities associated with areas under the standard normal curve. While some students will use graphing calculators to respond to these questions, others may wish to use the table of Standard Normal Probabilities (z-table).  A copy of the z-table that will be provided to students may be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/test_administration/ancilliary_materials/index.shtml. There has been no change to the z-table.

If you have any questions, please contact the student assessment staff by email at Student_Assessment@doe.virginia.gov or by phone at (804) 225-2102.

SRS/SLR/aw