P. O. BOX 2120
November 20, 1998


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Standards of Learning (SOL) Test Scaled Scores and Equating

  As noted in Informational Superintendents Memorandum No.
  159, dated October 30, 1998, your school division will
  receive a second set of reports from the spring 1998
  administration of the Standards of Learning (SOL)
  assessments. These reports will apply the decisions made
  by the Board of Education regarding the passing scores
  for the SOL tests. The purpose of this memo is to explain
  the information provided on the updated reports.  

  SOL Tests:  Achievement Levels Total Test Information

  Student performance on each test will be reported as one
  of three achievement levels:  


  Achievement level results for schools will be reported
  showing the number and percent of students who scored in
  each achievement level.

  SOL Tests:  Scaled Scores Total Test Information

  In addition to the achievement levels, student
  performance on all SOL tests will be reported as scaled
  scores.  For ease in interpretation, the same scaled
  score range of 0 to 600 will be used on each test at each
  grade level. As discussed in Informational Superintendents
  Memo No. 159, dated October 30, 1998, two forms of each
  SOL test are used in each test administration:  one form
  is used as the predominant form (the one taken by most
  students), and the other is the back-up form.  The Board
  of Education established the passing scores for each of
  the SOL tests based on the number of questions a student
  had to answer correctly (also called a raw score) on the
  predominant form. 

  The minimum raw score required for Pass/Proficient has
  been assigned a scaled score of 400.  Any student
  achieving a scaled score from 400 to 600 on any test form
  will have passed that SOL test.  Scaled scores ranging
  from 0 to 399 will always indicate that a student has
  failed the test.  A raw score of zero will be reported as
  a scaled score of zero.

  The Board of Education has established a designation of
  "Pass/Advanced" for those students who achieve a high
  level of performance on an SOL test.  The minimum raw
  score required for "Pass/Advanced" has been assigned a
  scaled score of 500.  Scaled scores ranging from 500 to
  600 will always indicate that the student has passed the
  SOL test and met the criteria for "Pass/Advanced."  A
  scale score of 600 will always indicate a perfect score.  

  The following summarizes this SOL test scaled score

   Failure                    0-399
   Pass/Proficient          400-499
   Pass/Advanced            500-600

  The passing scores set by the Board of Education on the
  standard-setting form establish the level of performance
  required of students to pass an SOL test in every
  subsequent administration.  The spring 1998 back-up forms
  and all new SOL test forms will be statistically equated
  to the spring 1998 standard-setting forms.  The objective
  in equating test forms is to ensure that the passing
  scores on these forms are equivalent to the passing
  scores on the standard-setting forms.  Consequently,
  students do not have an advantage or are not penalized
  because they have taken a slightly easier or more
  difficult form of the test. As stated, any student
  achieving a scaled score from 400 to 600 on any test form
  will have passed the SOL test.

  The test development and equating procedures used in
  developing the SOL tests strictly adhere to widely
  accepted test development practices and are similar to
  procedures used in other testing programs to equate
  multiple forms of a test.  Other programs in which these
  procedures have been used include Virginia's Literacy
  Testing Program (LTP) and Minimum Competency Test (MCT),
  the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), the Graduate Record
  Exam (GRE), and the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

  SOL Tests:  Scaled Scores for Reporting Categories

  Student performance will also be reported for the
  reporting categories that make up each test, as outlined
  in the test blueprints.  Student performance on the
  reporting categories will be reported as scaled scores so
  that progress over time may be measured.  The statewide
  average number of items answered correctly for each
  reporting category in the spring of 1998 has been
  assigned a scaled score of 35.  Thus, for the spring of
  1998 the statewide average scaled score for each
  reporting category will be 35. 

  Future forms of the SOL tests will be developed so that
  reporting category scaled scores from different forms and
  different years may be compared.  A score of 35 will
  represent the same level of performance in subsequent
  years, and will permit the comparison of scores in future
  years to the baseline established in the spring of 1998. 
  For example, a reporting category scaled score of 38.5 in
  the spring of 1999 will represent improvement of 3.5
  points in that reporting category.
  As is the case for the total test score, a raw score of
  zero for a reporting category will be reported as a
  scaled score of zero. Because the passing scores for the
  SOL tests were set only on each test as a whole, no
  achievement level designations (i.e., Pass/Proficient,
  Pass/Advanced, Fail) can be assigned to scores on the
  reporting categories. 

  Phase 2 SOL Reports

  At this time, the testing contractor is preparing the
  Phase 2 SOL reports.  Phase 2 SOL reports are essentially
  the same reports as those issued after the spring
  administration, except that raw scores are now replaced
  by scaled scores and the "Fail," "Pass/Proficient," and
  "Pass/Advanced" designations appear.  The Division of
  Assessment and Reporting is preparing a report
  interpretation package to assist school division
  personnel in interpreting the Phase 2 reports.  In the
  coming weeks your Division Director of Testing will
  receive further information regarding the Phase 2 SOL
  report interpretation package.  We appreciate your
  continued cooperation as we implement the SOL testing

  Should you have questions or need additional information,
  please call Cam Harris or staff of the Division of
  Assessment and Reporting at (804) 225-2102.