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Academic review – A process for helping schools and school divisions identify and analyze instructional and organizational factors affecting student achievement. More about academic reviews …
Academic review team – A team that conducts an academic review. More about Academic Reviews...
Accreditation Denied – Accreditation rating given to a school when students achieve adjusted pass rates below those required to earn the Fully Accredited rating for the current year as well as the preceding three consecutive years.
Accredited with Warning – Accreditation rating given to a school when students achieve adjusted pass rates below those required to meet the Fully Accredited rating. The rating includes the subject area(s) in which the school is deficient (for example, Accredited with Warning in English). A school can receive the accredited with warning classification no more than three consecutive years.
Achievement gap – Differences in academic performance among student groups.
Adjusted pass rate – In calculating accreditation ratings, allowances are made for certain transfer students, students who speak little or no English and students who pass retakes of tests after receiving remedial instruction. These allowances result in adjusted pass rates which are used to determine accreditation ratings.
AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress represented the minimum level of improvement schools and school divisions were required to achieve under the federal No Child Left Behind Act prior to the issuance of Virginia’s flexibility waiver.
Alignment – The correlation between Virginia’s SOL, what is taught in the classroom and what appears on the SOL tests. Curriculum alignment ensures that students are taught the material subject to testing.
Alternate and alternative assessments – Students with disabilities may be tested through the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) or the Virginia Grade-Level Alternative (VGLA) in grades 3-8 depending on the content area and nature of the disability. Limited-English Proficient (LEP) students at the lowest levels of English proficiency may also be tested using the VGLA. The Virginia Substitute Evaluation Program (VSEP) provides students with disabilities with an alternative means of meeting the commonwealth’s testing-related graduation requirements. More about alternate and alternative assessments...
AMO or AMOs – Annual Measurable Objectives are the minimum required percentages of students determined to be proficient in each content area. More about Annual Measurable Objectives...
Assessment – A test or other method for measuring achievement.
Board-recognized diplomas – The Board of Education establishes minimum requirements for the Standard Diploma, Advanced Studies Diploma, Modified Standard Diploma and the Special Diploma. International Baccalaureate Diplomas are regarded as Advanced Studies Diplomas.
Carry over students – A student who remains in high school after completing four or more years.
Conditionally Accredited – Accreditation rating given to a new school for one year in order to allow for tests to be given. This rating may also be given to a school that is being reconstituted.
Corrective action plan – A plan outlining methods to improve teaching, administration or curriculum that a school or school division classified as “in improvement” undertakes to improve student achievement.
Disaggregated data – Data sorted by groups of students. Groups include students who are economically disadvantaged, from racial and ethnic groups, have special education needs, or have limited English proficiency.
ESEA – Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the primary federal law affecting K-12 education. The most recent reauthorization of the law is also known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. More about ESEA...
Expedited retake – An end-of-course SOL test taken during the same academic year, and before the next scheduled test administration, by a student who, on his first attempt, scored within 25 points of passing or has exceptional or mitigating circumstances.
Flexibility Waiver – Exemptions from certain provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act granted to Virginia by the US Department of Education. More about Flexibility Waiver...
Focus schools – Low-performing Title I schools required to employ a state-approved coach to assist in the development and implementation of improvement strategies. More about Focus schools...
Fully Accredited – The accreditation rating earned by a school when students achieve an adjusted pass rate of 75 percent in English, 70 percent in mathematics, science and history/social science.
Graduation and Completion Index (see Graduation rate)
Graduation rate – Virginia calculates three graduation “rates” for accountability purposes:
- The Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate is the percentage of students who graduate with a Board of Education-approved diploma within four years of entering high school.
- The Federal Graduation Indicator is the percentage of students who graduate with a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma. It is used in calculating AYP ratings of high schools, school divisions and the commonwealth.
- The Graduation and Completion Index is used to determine the accreditation ratings of high schools.
Inclusion – The practice of placing students with disabilities in regular classrooms.
In improvement – If a Title I school or a school division did not make AYP in the same subject area for two consecutive years, the school or division was considered to be “in improvement” and was required under ESEA to take certain actions to raise achievement.
Instruction – The methods used to teach students, including lecture, discussion, hands-on activity, exercise, experiment, role-playing, small group work and writing. More about Instruction...
LEA – Local Education Agency is the term used in federal education law to describe a local school division.
Lead turnaround partner – A state-approved vendor with expertise and experience in the development and implementation of successful school reform and improvement strategies.
LEP – Limited-English Proficient refers to students for whom English is a second language and who are not reading or writing English at their grade level. More about LEP; more about English as a Second Language (ESL) insruction.
NCLB – See “ESEA”
Parental involvement – The participation of parents in regular, two way, meaningful communication involving student learning and school activities. Parental involvement is a component of ESEA.
Priority schools – Low-performing schools required to employ a state-approved lead turnaround partner to assist in the development and implementation of reforms and improvement strategies. More about Priority schools...
Proficiency Gap Groups – Student subgroups used to identify Focus schools under Virginia’s 2012 flexibility waiver.
- Proficiency Gap Group 1 – Students with disabilities, English language learners and economically disadvantaged students, regardless of race and ethnicity (unduplicated)
- Proficiency Gap Group 2 – African-American students, not of Hispanic origin, including those also counted in Proficiency Gap Group 1
- Proficiency Gap Group 3 – Hispanic students, of one or more races, including those also counted in Proficiency Gap Group 1
Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate – A high school or combined school with a graduating class receives a “Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate” if students achieve adjusted pass rates of 70 percent or more in all four content areas and a Graduation and Completion Index of 81-84 points.
Public school choice – See “Transfer Option”
Reconstitution – A process used to initiate a range of accountability actions to improve pupil performance, curriculum and instruction to address deficiencies that caused a school to be rated accreditation denied which may include, but is not limited to, restructuring a school’s governance, instructional program, staff or student population.
Restructuring/Alternative governance – For Title I schools that move into year four of school improvement, planning begins for the possibility – the following year – of reopening the school as a charter school, replacing staff relevant to the school’s failure to make progress or turning the management of the school over to a private educational management company with a demonstrated record of effectiveness.
Reward schools – High-performing Title I schools recognized through the Virginia Index of Performance, National Blue Ribbon School or Title I Distinguished School awards programs.
Safe harbor – A provision of ESEA recognizing acceptable incremental progress.
SEA – State Education Agency refers to the Virginia Board of Education, which is responsible for the general supervision of a state’s public elementary and secondary schools.
School improvement plan – Strategies and steps that a school will utilize to raise student achievement. A plan may involve new programs, more assistance for students, new curricula and/or teacher training.
Scientifically based research – Research that involves the application of rigorous, systemic and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge regarding the effectiveness of educational activities and programs.
Substitute tests – Virginia allows high school students to use nationally recognized assessments such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and SAT II subject tests as substitutes for the related SOL tests. All Board of Education-approved substitute tests measure content that incorporates or exceeds the related SOL content.
Supplemental educational services – Prior to 2012-2013, a provision of NCLB allowed students in some low-performing Title I schools to request and receive free tutoring or supplemental educational services. More about supplemental educational services...
SOL or SOLs – Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools describe the commonwealth’s expectations for student learning and achievement in grades K-12 in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health and physical education and driver education. More on the Standards of Learning...
Title I – Federal program designed to help low-income children who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind. Title I funding is based on the number of low-income children in a school, generally those eligible for free lunch or reduced-fee lunch programs. More about Title I...
Transfer option – A provision of NCLB also referred to as “public school choice.” Prior to 2012-2013, students in chronically low-performing Title I schools were entitled to transfers to higher-performing schools within the division.
USED – Abbreviation used by VDOE for the United States Department of Education.
VAAP – The Virginia Alternate Assessment Program is designed to evaluate the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities. The VAAP is available to students in grades 3-8 and students in grade 11 who are working on academic standards that have been reduced in complexity and depth. Students participating in the VAAP must compile a collection of work samples to demonstrate performance on the SOL content for which they have received instruction. More about VAAP...
VEWS – Virginia Early Warning System used by schools to identify students at risk of not graduating on time or dropping out. More about VEWS...
VGLA – The Virginia Grade Level Alternative is available for students with disabilities and certain LEP students in grades 3-8. It is available for students with disabilities in the content areas of Science, History/Social Science, and Writing. It is available for eligible LEP students in the content area of Reading only. More about VGLA...
VMAST – The Virginia Modified Achievement Standards Test is available for students with disabilities who are being instructed in grade-level content but are not likely to achieve proficiency in the same time frame as their non-disabled peers. In the VMAST assessments, research-based supports and simplifications identified by Virginia educators have been applied to existing online reading and mathematics items to make them more accessible for students with disabilities. More about VMAST...
VSEP – The Virginia Substitute Evaluation Program provides students with disabilities who are unable to participate in the regular SOL assessments with an alternative means of meeting the commonwealth’s testing-related graduation requirements. Students participating in the VSEP are expected to provide evidence of achievement through a compilation of coursework. More about VSEP...