September 27, 2006
Director of Communications
Public Information Officer
Six Schools Denied Accreditation because of Low Achievement
Nine out of 10 Virginia public schools are fully accredited and meeting state standards for student achievement in English, mathematics, history/social science, and science based on 2005-2006 assessment results, the Virginia Department of Education announced today.
The percentage of schools meeting or exceeding state standards was little changed from the previous year, despite the introduction of rigorous new Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in English and mathematics in grades 4, 6, and 7, which were previously untested. The accreditation ratings announced today also reflect the achievement of elementary and middle school students on the United States History to 1877 test, which was introduced in 2004.
“The introduction of grade-level testing in English and mathematics and the inclusion of the U.S. History scores represent an increase in expectations for Virginia’s students and schools,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Billy K. Cannaday Jr. “The fact that more than 90 percent of the commonwealth’s schools still earned full accreditation reflects the commitment of thousands of teachers, principals, and other educators to helping students meet high standards.”
Students in 1,670, or 92 percent of the 1,822 schools that were open during 2005-2006 and are open this year met or exceeded state achievement objectives on SOL tests and other statewide assessments in the four core academic areas. Ninety-six percent of Virginia’s elementary schools and 97 percent of the commonwealth’s high schools are now fully accredited, compared with 95 percent and 94 percent, respectively, last year.
The increased rigor of mathematics testing in grades at the middle school level resulted in a decrease in the percentage of middle schools achieving full accreditation, although nine middle schools that were accredited with warning during 2005-2006 are now fully accredited.
“The introduction of these tests has provided a shared lesson for educators at every level on the importance of understanding the goal implicit in the mathematics SOL of preparing students for success in Algebra I by grade 8 and by grade 9 at the latest,” said Dr. Cannaday. “The department will develop new instructional resources to help students and teachers achieve this goal.”
Seventy-one percent, or 219 of the 307 middle schools open during 2005-2006 are fully accredited. Of the 86 middle schools that are accredited with warning, 63 are warned solely because of mathematics achievement, including 44 middle schools that were fully accredited last year. Last year, 83 percent of Virginia middle schools were fully accredited based on 2004-2005 achievement.
Forty-seven schools that were on academic warning last year achieved full accreditation, including 24 elementary schools, nine middle schools, 12 high schools, and two combined schools. The number of schools accredited with warning rose to 138, compared with 129 at the close of last year. Seventy-four schools slipped from full accreditation to accredited with warning.
Six schools were denied state accreditation because of persistently low achievement in the four core content areas. These are the first schools to lose state accreditation since the commonwealth began rating schools based on student achievement in 1998. The schools denied accreditation, with areas of deficiency indicated, are:
- A.P. Hill Elementary, Petersburg (English, mathematics, history/social science, science)
- Peabody Middle, Petersburg (English, mathematics, history/social science, science)
- J.E.B. Stuart Elementary, Petersburg (English, mathematics)
- Petersburg High, Petersburg (mathematics, history/social science, science)
- Annie B. Jackson Elementary, Sussex County (English, mathematics, science)
- Ellen W. Chambliss Elementary, Sussex County (English, mathematics, science)
“Who would have thought in 1998, when only 2 percent of schools met the standard for full accreditation, that only six schools would lose state accreditation in 2006 because of low achievement,” said Board of Education President Mark E. Emblidge. “I want to assure the communities served by these six schools that the board will bring every resource and means available to bear to raise student achievement and will insist on reform and accountability.”
A school is denied accreditation if it fails to meet the requirements for full accreditation after being accredited with warning for three consecutive years. Schools that have been denied accreditation are subject to corrective actions prescribed by the Board of Education and agreed to by the local school board through a signed memorandum of understanding. A school board within 45 days of receiving notice of a school being denied accreditation must submit a corrective action plan to the Board of Education describing the steps to be taken to raise achievement to state standards. The Board of Education will consider the plan in developing the memorandum of understanding, which must be in force by November 1 of the year for which the school has been denied accreditation. Schools that are denied accreditation also must provide the following to parents and other interested parties:
- Written notice of the school’s accreditation rating within 30 calendar days of the announcement of the rating by the Department of Education;
- A copy of the school division’s proposed corrective action plan, including a timeline for implementation, to improve the school’s accreditation rating; and
- An opportunity to comment on the division’s proposed corrective action plan prior to its adoption and the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the local school board and the Board of Education.
As an alternative to the memorandum of understanding, a local school board may choose to reconstitute a school rated “Accreditation Denied” and apply to the Board of Education for a rating of “Conditionally Accredited.” If granted conditional accreditation, the school would have a maximum of three years to raise student achievement to state standards.
Two schools, Pocahontas Combined in Tazewell County and Robert E. Lee Elementary in Petersburg, are rated as “Accreditation Withheld – Improving School.” This rating is for schools that are making substantial progress toward full accreditation. To earn this rating, which is only available this year, schools must meet each of the following criteria:
- At least 70 percent of its students must have passed the applicable English assessments except at third and fifth grade where the requirement is 75 percent,
- At least 60 percent of its students must have passed statewide assessments in the other three core academic areas, and
- In areas in which the pass rate is below the rate required for full accreditation, the school’s pass rate must have increased by at least 25 percentage points since 1999.
Seventeen newly opened schools are rated as conditionally accredited and the accreditation status of six schools remains to be determined.
Sixty-three of the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions have no schools on the state’s academic warning list. The school divisions with all schools either fully or conditionally accredited are:
|Alleghany County||Madison County|
|Amelia County||Manassas Park|
||New Kent County|
|Carroll County||Nottoway County|
||Prince George County|
|King William County
The accreditation ratings announced today are based on the achievement of students on SOL assessments and approved substitute tests in English, mathematics, history/social science, and science administered during the summer and fall of 2005 and the spring of 2006, or on overall achievement during the three most recent academic years. The results of tests administered in each subject area are combined to produce overall passing percentages in English, mathematics, history, and science.
In middle schools and high schools, an adjusted pass rate of at least 70 percent in all four subject areas is required for full accreditation. In elementary schools, a combined accreditation pass rate of at least 75 percent on English tests in grades 3 and 5, and 70 percent in grade 4 is required for full accreditation. Elementary schools also must achieve accreditation pass rates of at least 70 percent in mathematics, grade-5 science, and grade-5 history, and pass rates of at least 50 percent in grade-3 science and grade-3 history.
Accreditation ratings also may reflect adjustments made for schools that successfully remediate students who previously failed reading or mathematics tests. Adjustments also may be made for students with limited English proficiency, and for students who have recently transferred into a Virginia public school.
The Board of Education adopted the Standards of Learning in 1995. A program of annual assessments in English, mathematics, history/social science, and science in grades 3, 5, 8, and at the end of high school-level courses began in the 1997-98 school year. The department introduced new reading and mathematics tests for grades 4, 6, and 7 during 2005-2006, as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
In 1998, the first year of SOL testing, only 2 percent of the commonwealth’s public schools met the standard for full accreditation. The percentage of schools meeting the state’s accreditation standards increased to 6.5 percent in 1999, 22 percent in 2000, 40 percent in 2001, 64 percent in 2002, 78 percent in 2003, and 84 percent in 2004. Last year, 1,685 or 92 percent of Virginia’s schools were initially rated as fully accredited based on achievement during 2004-2005. Subsequent reviews and data submissions increased the number of fully accredited schools last year to 1,686.
Accreditation ratings for all public schools are available on the Virginia School Report Card.