P. O. BOX 2120

March 31, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Clarification of Use of Test Manipulatives

 The purpose of this memo is to provide you with clarification regarding the use of 
test manipulatives.  A complete list of Standards of Learning (SOL) test 
manipulatives is found on page 14 of the School Test Coordinator's Manual and page 
15 of the Division Directors of Testing Manual.  The Examiner's Manual for each test 
specifies the testing manipulatives for that particular test.

Information about most of the test manipulatives allowed on the SOL tests has been 
provided to school divisions.  As replacements become necessary or enrollment 
increases require additional purchases, the following information is provided for 
your use:

 Protractors have been provided to school divisions.  An angle ruler is an 
appropriate replacement for a protractor.  A protractor or angle ruler may be 
used ONLY on the grade 5 mathematics test.

 Rulers have been provided to school divisions.  Rulers with metric and standard 
measurement may be used on the mathematics and science tests in grades 3, 5, and 8 
and the end-of-course mathematics and science tests.

 A Safe-T compass may be used on the end-of-course geometry test in place of a 

 Scratch paper is allowed on the mathematics and science tests in grades 3, 5, and 
8 and the end-of-course mathematics and science tests.  Plain paper (including patty 
paper), lined paper, and grid paper are acceptable as scratch paper.

 Four-function calculators (i.e., add, subtract, multiply, and divide) and 
calculators having percent, square root and +/- functions, may be used on a portion 
of grade 5 mathematics; grade 8 mathematics; and on science tests in grades 5, 8, 
and end-of-course.  The four-function calculator must have the Standard Operating 
System and there should not be parentheses on any keys of the calculator.  
Calculators having any additional functions (e.g., sine, cosine, fraction to decimal,
 decimal to fraction), calculators having algebraic operating systems (AOS), and 
graphing calculators may not be used by students taking any of these tests.

 Graphing calculators (CASIO 9850G Plus and TI-83) have been provided to school 
divisions for use on the end-of-course mathematics tests. Since many school divisions
have been using the earlier model types (CASIO 9850G and TI-82) in instruction prior
to receiving the state's shipment, they also may be used on the tests.

Please be aware that not all graphing calculators may be used by students on the SOL 
end-of-course mathematics tests.  Some graphing calculators have functions exceeding 
the specifications of the calculators listed in the paragraph above.  Their use would 
provide students with an unfair advantage over students using an approved calculator.

Items on the high school SOL tests are designed to be calculator-neutral or 
calculator-inactive.  Calculator- neutral items are those that can be solved 
correctly without a graphing calculator, but the use of one may be helpful.  
Calculator-inactive items are those in which there is no advantage to using a 

If you have questions, please call the Division of Assessment and Reporting at 
(804) 225-2102.