Standards of Learning (SOL) & Testing
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, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health/physical education and driver education.
Annual assessments – including SOL tests and alternative assessments – provide information on individual student achievement including those with special needs.
Select a content area on the menu to the right to view the following SOL-related resources:
- The Standards of Learning (SOL) – expectations for student learning and achievement.
- The Curriculum frameworks for English, mathematics, science and history/social science detail the specific knowledge and skills students must possess to meet the standards for these subjects.
- Enhanced scope and sequence guides provide sample lesson plans and instructional resources to help teachers align their classroom instruction with the standards.
- Test blueprints detail specific standards covered by a test, reporting categories of test items, number of test items, and general information about how test questions are constructed.
- Released tests and test items are representative of the content and skills included in the SOL assessments and present the format of the tests and questions. Select a subject from the menu on the right or see all released test resources.
Building on the success of the SOL program and to better prepare students to compete in today’s global economy, more rigorous English, mathematics and science standards and expectations are being implemented that meet national and international benchmarks for college-and-career readiness.
Students will be tested on the more rigorous content standards, adopted by the Board of Education, as follows:
- Mathematics beginning with the 2011-2012 school year
- English beginning with the 2012-2013 school year
- Science beginning in the 2012-2013 school year
In addition to more rigorous standards, schools are phasing out paper-and-pencil SOL tests in favor of online assessments. By 2013, online will be the primary delivery mode for all SOL assessments; however SOL tests will continue to be available in paper-and-pencil format for students with a documented need. The schedule for all SOL tests to be administered online is as follows:
- High schools by 2010-2011
- Middle schools by 2011-2012
- Elementary schools by 2012-2013
Virginia students take more than 2.5 million SOL tests online each year as a result of funding – approved by the General Assembly and provided through Virginia’s SOL Technology Initiative – for school divisions to secure hardware and infrastructure resources.
The benefits of online testing for students and schools include:
- Faster return of student scores
- Increased instructional and remediation time due to timely return of student results
- Improved efficiency of data collection and management
- Increased accuracy of student data
- Increased security of test content and student data
- Reduced administrative burdens on school and division staff
- The ability to include “technology-enhanced” items that allow students to indicate their responses in ways other than multiple choice that also may demonstrate critical-thinking skills
- Practice items provide examples of the new SOL content and increased rigor and illustrate the new types of technology-enhanced items for the following:
- Writing – grades 5 and 8 and end-of-course
- Reading – grades 3-8 and end-of-course
- Mathematics – Grades 3-8 and Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II
- Science – Grades 3, 5, 8 and Biology, Earth Science and Chemistry
- Online Writing includes teaching strategies and lesson plans, video links, SOL progression charts, graphic organizers, and resource links to assist teachers at all grade levels in the instruction of the writing process.
Virginia Standards of Learning & Common Core Standards
In 2010 and 2011, The Board of Education followed the commonwealth’s established process for adopting and revising the Standards of Learning to ensure that instructional standards in Virginia public schools equal or exceed those for schools in states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards.
- More about the Virginia Standards of Learning & Common Core State Standards