Virginia Board of Education Resolution 1996-4
Establishing Policies Regarding the Virginia State Assessment Program
Resolution Number 1996-4
April 25, 1996
WHEREAS, the Board of Education affirms that free government rests, as does all progress upon the broadest possible diffusion of knowledge, and that the Commonwealth should avail itself of those talents which nature has sown so liberally among its people by assuring the opportunity for their fullest development by an effective system of education throughout the Commonwealth (Article 1, Section 15 of the Constitution of Virginia); and
WHEREAS, the Board of Education has the authority to prescribe requirements to ensure that student progress is measured and that school boards and school personnel are accountable pursuant to Section 22.1-253.13:3A of the Code of Virginia; and to evaluate the condition and needs of public education in the Commonwealth pursuant to Article VIII, Section 5 of the Constitution of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the Board believes that local school boards, school personnel, students, parents, and communities should be fully informed of the criteria and methods by which student progress will be measured and that the Commonwealth’s citizens should be fully informed of the educational effectiveness of their schools; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth’s assessments must be reliable, valid, equitable, and generalizable to ensure the integrity of the test results reported for each student, school, and school division, as well as to instill public confidence by laying the foundation for accountability in the Commonwealth’s system of public education; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth’s assessments must be designed with consideration for preserving instructional time and to cover a broad range of content in each of the disciplines (Mathematics, Science, English and History and the Social Sciences [History]) and Technology; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth’s assessments should reflect the Board of Education’s continued commitment to fiscal responsibility; and
WHEREAS, standardized and machine-scoreable assessments are a proven means of measuring student achievement in the acquisition of knowledge and skills and can be designed to assess application, analysis, and reasoning skills; and
WHEREAS, non-traditional assessments, which may include direct observation, projects, exhibitions, demonstrations, and portfolios, are effective tools for teachers in evaluating classroom instruction and student learning, but have been found to be problematic and may be indefensible for statewide testing due to (i) the considerable expense in creating, administering, and scoring; (ii) the considerable classroom time involved in administering these assessments; and (iii) unproven methods for providing results that are reliable, valid, generalizable, and equitable in statewide testing for accountability; and
WHEREAS, the Board reaffirms that the supervision of schools in each school division is vested in the local school board pursuant to Article VIII, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia, and the evaluation of classroom instruction and instructional programs is the responsibility of local boards.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the following assessments (Virginia State Assessment Program) be implemented in the Commonwealth:
I. STATEWIDE SOL ASSESSMENTS
The Department of Education will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop, administer, score, and report results of statewide standardized assessments and will include the following components:
A. Program Summary
1. Purpose: To measure students’ achievement in acquiring and directly applying the knowledge and academic skills defined in English, Mathematics, Science, History, and Technology Standards of Learning, and to measure students’ skills to analyze, reason, synthesize information, make comparisons, and draw inferences.
2. Grade Levels: 3, 5, 8, 11.
3. Testing Format: Primarily machine-scoreable test items which provide a breadth of content coverage and ensure reliable and valid results.. A writing sample may be included.
4. Scores: Scores will be reported at student, school, school division, and state levels.
B. Test Content
1. The grade 8 SOL assessment will include grades 6, 7, and 8 SOLs in English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, as well as the History SOLs covering U. S. History, and Civics and Economics.
2. At the 11th grade level, the SOL assessment will:
a. report scores within disciplines (e.g. Biology within Science).
b. include content from the following areas within each discipline:
- Mathematics: Algebra I and Geometry
- Science: Earth Science and Biology
- History: World History and World Geography
- English: grades 9, 10, and 11
C. Multiple Forms of Assessments Required.Different forms of the test will be developed so that a different test may be used in each administration.
II. NATIONALLY NORM-REFERENCED ACHIEVEMENT TEST (NRT):
The Department of Education will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to adopt, administer, score, and report results of nationally normed-referenced standardized tests.
A. Program Summary:
1. Purpose: To provide nationally norm-referenced information on the achievement of students, schools, school divisions and the state.
2. Grade levels: 3, 5, 8, and 11.
3. Testing format: Nationally normed, standardized, machine-scoreable test.
4. Scores: Scores will be reported at the student, school, school division and state levels.
B. Test Content
1. English (to include reading comprehension), and Mathematics.
2. History and Science may be included.
Adopted in the Minutes of the Virginia Board of Education
April 25, 1996