P. O. BOX 2120
August 23, 1996


TO: Division Superintendents
Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Participation in Pilot Testing of Writing Prompts
for the Literacy Passport Test

     As part of the continuing development of the Literacy
  Passport Test (LPT), the Department will be conducting a
  pilot test of writing prompts during the period November 11-15,
  1996.  This pilot testing is necessary to ensure the
  technical quality of the writing prompts used in future
  administrations of the LPT.
     A sample of approximately 6,000 sixth-grade students
  from across Virginia is needed to participate in the pilot
  testing.  Each student will be asked to write a paper which
  may involve writing a fictional or nonfictional narrative,
  directions, explanations, a discussion of ideas, etc.  The
  administration of the writing prompt typically requires one
  class period (45-60 minutes).  Participating divisions and
  schools will receive information describing students'
  performance for the division and participating schools as a
  whole.  This information will not be available until late
  spring 1997.
     The Department is seeking classrooms in your division
  to participate in the pilot testing.  From the pool of
  volunteers, the Department will select a sample to be
  representative of the state in terms of demographic factors
  such as geography, race/ethnicity, and school and division
  sizes.  Please indicate on the enclosed form your
  willingness for some classrooms or schools in your division
  to volunteer to participate in this pilot testing.  If you
  choose to participate, please also indicate the person to be
  contacted regarding this pilot testing, the school(s)
  willing to participate, and the number of classrooms willing
  to participate.  Forms must be returned to the Division of
  Assessment and Reporting by September 16, 1996.
     Again, this pilot testing is for the Literacy Passport
  Testing program, not the new assessment program associated
  with the revised Standards of Learning. 
     For additional information, please call either Shelley
  Loving-Ryder or Cameron Harris at 804/225-2107.
  Attachment:  This memo and its attachment will be sent to
               the superintendent's office.