Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Algebra Readiness Initiative?
- Who determines which students are at risk?
- What is the Algebra Readiness Disgnostic Test (ARDT)?
- What does the pre- and post- diagnostic test do?
- Is there criteria for selecting an alternate test?
- Must school divisions use the ARDT? Will an alternative test be allowed?
- What is meant by intervention service?
- Who determines the intervention service model?
- How can my division purchase additional test units?
- What funds are available to school divisions for ARI?
- May I use the ARI funds to purchase materials for the intervention service?
- Who completes ARI annual reports to the Department of Education?
- What kinds of information is the DOE collecting in their report?
- Where do I send the ARDT annual report?
- When will test units for the school divisions be reset for the school year?
- When can I start testing for the school year?
- If ARI funds are not completely used, can funding be carried over to the following year?
- Can a school division participate one year if they did not participate the previous year?
- Do school divisions need to re-register each year?
- What if I have a concern about a test item?
- What do students need to know prior to taking the test?
- What are strand tests?
- Can ARDT results be used to determine placement in Algebra 1 classes?
- Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?
The purpose of the initiative is to provide mathematics intervention services to students (grades 6-9) who may be at risk of failing the Algebra I end-of-course test. The Algebra Readiness Initiative consists of a diagnostic pre-test (to identify student's mathematical strengths and weaknesses), an intervention service (that addresses the weaknesses through 2 ½ hours of additional weekly instruction), and a post-test.
The school division determines which students should be tested and which students should receive the intervention service based upon one or more of the following criteria:
- students in Grade 6-9 at risk of failing the Algebra I end-of-course test;
- students not successful in their previous intervention programs;
- students who performed below average in their previous year's mathematics program; or
- students who did not pass the end-of-course mathematics test.
The ARDT is designed to assess and diagnose student's mathematical strengths and weaknesses in relation to the Virginia Mathematics Standards Of Learning (SOL). The ARDT is administered as a pre- and post- test measure to determine student skill areas requiring further development and to determine growth in student skills over time. The ARDT is delivered over the Internet and is an adaptive test.
The diagnostic test provides information about a student's overall mathematical skill as well as information about specific areas of strengths and weaknesses in relation to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL).
The pre- and post- diagnostic test can be the online Algebra Readiness Diagnostic Test or an alternative test which must align with specified criteria and, must be approved by VDOE.
Yes. Diagnostic tests must meet the following criteria:
- assess the students' knowledge and skills of the Mathematics Standards of Learning for grades 6, 7, 8, and 9;
- address the five reporting categories of the Standards of Learning assessment test, including: Number and Number Sense, Computation and Estimation, Measurement and Geometry, Probability and Statistics, Patterns, Functions, and Algebra; and
- indicate the level of acceptable performance on each reporting category where intervention may be necessary to be successful; and
- meet industry standards for validity and reliability of the items and tests proposed. Such standards should include field testing and proper test form construction.
- support the five goals for students found in the Standards of Learning:
- Becoming Mathematical Problem Solvers;
- Communicating Mathematically;
- Reasoning Mathematically;
- Making Mathematical Connections; and
- Making Mathematical Representations.
The school division must identify the diagnostic test and certify that it meets the criteria specified by VDOE. School divisions must also submit documentation showing that locally developed or selected tests are aligned with the criteria.
Teachers and administrators will use the diagnostic pre-test results instructionally; i.e. in developing and implementing intervention services to assist students in the identified areas. Following the intervention program, the assessment test will be administered as a post-test.
The following is information concerning the intervention service.
- School divisions must certify that an intervention service will be provided.
- Pre- and post-assessment must be administered.
- The intervention service must provide 2½ hours of additional instruction per week.
- The intervention service must be provided on a student/teacher ratio of 10 to 1.
- Local school divisions determine the intervention model.
- Students targeted to participate in the intervention program will include those who did not pass the appropriate diagnostic test.
The school division determines the intervention service model and indicates through the year-end report that the identified students participated in this intervention service. The intervention model used might be after school or on Saturdays, additional time during the school day, a summer program or some other model.
Information for purchasing additional testing units will be made available with the launch of the new Algebra Readiness Diagnostic Test in early 2013.
Local school divisions receive incentive funding from the state to provide intervention services based upon the state's share of the cost. Local school divisions are required to match these funds based upon the composite index of local ability to pay.
No, school divisions receive incentive payments to provide mathematics intervention services to students in the targeted grades. Local match funds may be used to purchase materials for the intervention program.
Any school division participating in the Algebra Readiness Initiative and using the ARDT online does not need to complete an annual report to DOE.
School divisions participating in the Algebra Readiness Initiative and using locally developed or selected diagnostic tests must provide pre- and post-test information on students who participated in the Algebra Readiness Intervention Initiative by June 30.
If your school division is NOT using the ARDT, then the Department of Education will need the following information:
- Division name and number;
- Name of School;
- Division's ARI contact name, phone number, and e-mail;
- Name and publisher of locally developed or selected diagnostic test;
- Number of identified students pre-tested;
- Number of identified students receiving the intervention service;
- Number of students post-tested; and
- Number of students showing improvement on the post-test results.
Please include the name of the division and school OR the state identification numbers in the file name.
E-mail the report file to Michael Bolling, Mathematics Coordinator, at the Virginia Department of Education, Michael.Bolling@doe.virginia.gov by June 30.
Test units are reset on August 16th of each year.
Testing may begin as soon as test units have been reset, usually the beginning of the school year. There is no test window. Testing may occur at any time during the school year. School division administrators will need to distribute test units to the schools.
Carry over is not guaranteed.
Yes. Contact Michael Bolling, Mathematics Coordinator, at the Virginia Department of Education, Michael.Bolling@doe.virginia.gov, Phone: (804) 786-6418, Fax: (804) 786-5466, for specific information on how to begin.
No, but divisions need to file the superintendent's certification form each year. This can be downloaded at /VDOE/Instruction/Math/ARI/ari-or.shtml.
Concerns about test items on the ARDT should be e-mailed to Michael Bolling, Mathematics Coordinator, at the Virginia Department of Education, Michael.Bolling@doe.virginia.gov, Phone: (804) 786-6418, Fax: (804) 786-5466.
Each student will take a 30-question computer-adaptive (CAT) assessment based on the student's current grade level in school. The option for students to return to a previous question that they skipped will no longer be available with the CAT.
Students should practice using the online tools (ruler, protractor, calculator, and formula sheet) prior to taking the test. Student grade level is the student's current grade level. For example, any student who is currently in a sixth grade homeroom would be reported as a sixth grader.
Testing conditions should be the same as those for other standardized tests such as the SOL assessments.
Students with disabilities should take this assessment according to the specifications in their current Individualized Education Plan or Section 504 plan.
Students are encouraged to use paper and pencil during the assessment. Each child should have a state approved scientific calculaltor available for use during the ARDT.
Strand tests are short "quizzes" of 10 questions each. They match the strands in the Standards of Learning. They are scored on a percentage basis and provide additional feedback about student performance on specific standards. Strand tests are listed by grade level. There are two different ten question tests for each strand per grade level 4 through 8.
No, this test was designed for diagnostic purposes. Any use of test scores outside their intended purpose makes them not valid. Additional research would need to be done to determine the value of the test for placement purposes.
Michael Bolling, Mathematics Coordinator
Virginia Department of Education
Phone: (804) 786-6418
Fax: (804) 786-5466