Standards of Learning (SOL) & Testing
Changes to the Standards of Learning Assessment Program – see Superintendent’s Memo 282-14.
The Board of Education has approved Guidelines for Local Alternative Assessments for 2014-2015.
Implementation of computer adaptive testing for the Grade 6 Mathematics SOL Test in 2014-2015 – see Superintendent’s Memo 189-14.
The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science and other subjects.
SOL tests in reading, writing, mathematics, science and history/social science measure the success of students in meeting the Board of Education’s expectations for learning and achievement. All items on SOL tests are reviewed by Virginia classroom teachers for accuracy and fairness and teachers also assist the state Board of Education in setting proficiency standards for the tests.
Innovation in Student Assessment
The Virginia Department of Education is a national leader in the use of technology to develop and administer the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Virginia’s school divisions have been administering online tests to students for over a decade. The current online tests for mathematics, science, reading, and writing contain technology-enhanced items (TEI). Technology-enhanced Items require students to indicate their responses in ways other than a multiple-choice format. As part of the continuing effort to provide students with the best possible testing experience, Virginia is adding Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) to the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessment Program.
Computer Adaptive Testing – New for 2014-2015 School Year
A computer adaptive test (CAT) is an assessment that is customized for every student based on how the student responds to the test questions. In 2014-2015, most students taking the grade 6 mathematics test will be administered a computer adaptive version of the Standards of Learning (SOL) test. Watch the videos to learn how computer adaptive testing provides students with a customized assessment experience.
|A Guide to Computer Adaptive Testing – This video explains the basic principle for how computer adaptive testing works.||Computer Adaptive Testing in Virginia – This video provides information about computer adaptive testing in Virginia.|
Today’s online SOL assessments challenge students to apply what they have learned in ways not possible with traditional multiple-choice tests. Reading, writing, mathematics and science assessments include “technology enhanced” items that require students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, much as they do in response to classroom assignments from teachers.
Beyond Multiple Choice: Teachers Discuss Virginia’s New Mathematics Standards – Educators and VDOE on the new standards and assessments.
Technology-enhanced demonstration – Narrated demonstration of examples of items appearing on the 2012 Mathematics SOL tests.
The Board of Education has approved Guidelines for Local Alternative Assessments for 2014-2015 (PDF) to replace the following five discontinued Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.
- Grade-3 History/Social Science
- Grade-3 Science
- Grade-5 Writing
- U.S. History I (formerly administered in grade 5 or grade 6)
- U.S. History II (formerly administered in grade 6 or grade 7)
School divisions must certify that they have provided instruction and administered an alternative assessment, consistent with Board of Education guidelines, to students in grades and subject areas that no longer have a corresponding SOL test.