Establishing Policies Regarding Tolerances for Student Mobility and Transiency and School Accountability
Resolution Number 1999-6
May 27, 1999
WHEREAS, some local officials in Virginia have expressed their concern about the issue of school accountability and student mobility as these issues relate to the requirements of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8 VAC 20-131-10 et seq.; herein, the SOA.); and
WHEREAS, throughout the process of revising the SOA in 1996-97, the Board of Education received comment from educators and parents concerned about the potential effect of the proposed Standards of Learning (SOL) testing requirements on schools with high populations of transient students and on the individual transient student. These students fall into four groups:
- Intradivision transient students, defined as those students who transfer from one school in the division to another.
- Intrastate transient students, defined as those students who transfer from a school in one division to a school in another division.
- Interstate transient students, defined as those students who transfer from one state to another, also could be a student who comes from outside the country.
- Homeless and migrant transient students, defined as those students who move about the country. They may leave and re-enter the same school division during the school year, and are more likely included as part of any of the above categories; and
WHEREAS, the SOA adopted in September 1997 allows schools with large numbers of transient students to receive additional accommodations in the school accreditation formula through a plan for each individual school, with each Individualized School Accreditation Plan having to be approved separately by the Board of Education (8 VAC 20-131-280.C); and
WHEREAS, a review of literature from some states such as South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida, which have accountability systems similar to the one in place in Virginia, reveals that states vary in any accommodations for mobility when determining a school’s performance; and
WHEREAS, the Board recognized a particular problem with students who transfer into Virginia secondary schools late in their high school careers and made provisions for those instances in the SOA by allowing a waiver of verified credits under certain conditions at the request of a local school board (8 VAC 20-131-60.D); and
WHEREAS, as a part of the efforts to determine a long-term solution to this issue, on May 20, 1999, a meeting of Department of Education staff and superintendents from divisions having large populations of transient students was convened, at which time the following proposal was developed for Board consideration;
BE IT, THEREFORE, RESOLVED that as a solution to the problems identified from including the SOL test scores of transient students in the calculation of school accountability (accreditation) ratings, the following policy shall be adopted:
1. In accordance with the provisions of 8 VAC 20-131-20 of the SOA, all students who transfer into Virginia schools are expected to take and pass SOL tests at grades 3, 5, and 8 and in high school unless they have been exempted by reason of disability or limited English proficiency as provided therein.
2. All students who transfer within a school division shall have their scores counted in the calculation of the school’s accountability (accreditation) rating.
3. Students who transfer into a Virginia school from another Virginia school division or another state at grades 3, 5, and 8 shall be expected to take the SOL tests; however, the scores on those tests will not be used in calculating school accountability (accreditation) ratings in the year the transfer occurs if the transfer takes place after the 20th instructional day following the opening of school.4. Students who transfer into a Virginia middle or high school from another state and enroll in a course for which there is an end-of-course SOL test shall be expected to take the test for that course; however, the scores on those tests will not be used in calculating school accountability (accreditation) rating in the year the transfer occurs if the transfer takes place after 20 instructional hours have elapsed following the opening of school or beginning of the semester if applicable.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board will continue to study issues surrounding concerns about the requirement for verified units of credit for high school graduation and transfer students and make recommendations for long-term solutions to these issues at a later date; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this policy shall become effective with the reporting of results for the Fall 1999 SOL test administration.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Superintendent of Public Instruction is hereby requested to distribute a copy of this resolution to all local division superintendents and to all interested professional organizations and any other member of the public so that they may be informed of the Board of Education’s policy regarding accommodations for schools with high populations of transient students and for the individual transient student.
Kirk T. Schroder, President
Board of Education
Adopted in the Minutes of the Virginia Board of Education
May 27, 1999