P. O. BOX 2120
October 9, 1998


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Press Release and Board of Education Statement 

  Attached for your information is a statement addressing
  the setting of the passing scores for the Standards of
  Learning (SOL) tests, adopted by the Board of Education
  at its September 29 meeting in Abingdon, and a September
  21 press release addressing the SOL tests'statistical
  reliability. The Board of Education's formal statement
  addresses the basic principles that guide the members of
  the Board in setting the passing scores on the SOL tests
  and the considerations they will take into account when
  determining the final "cut"scores.  The press release
  conveys the message that the statistical reliability of
  the SOL tests administered last spring is excellent for a
  first-time test administration and is comparable to other
  tests, such as the Stanford 9.

  As the process for setting the passing scores unfolds, we
  will keep you up-to-date.  Our website displays the
  latest press release, and provides an archive of releases
  proposed by the Policy and Public Affairs Division. The
  Board's statement will be placed on the website. (The
  site is  In addition, during
  the week of October 5 you will receive a packet from the
  Board that provides information about each phase of
  Virginia's educational reform--the Standards of Learning,
  the Standards of Learning Tests, the Standards of
  Accreditation, and the School Performance Report Card.  I
  encourage you to use all of this information as you see 
  fit; and I hope it will be copied and distributed widely.

  If you have questions, please contact Cam Harris at
  804/225-2913 about the press release and Diane Atkinson
  at 804/225-2403.


  Attachment:  A hard copy of this memo and its
               attachments will be sent to the 
               superintendent's office.