P. O. BOX 2120
October 13, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Board of Education Action Regarding Tests Which May Substitute for Specified SOL Tests

The purpose of this memo is to provide information about the action of the Board of Education in setting the cut scores for approved substitute assessments for SOL tests. The tables attached identify the SOL test, the approved substitute test, and the required score for Proficient and Advanced on each test.

Any substitute test can be used to verify one unit of credit. Students must determine prior to taking the test which unit of credit will be verified by the substitute test. For example, the SAT II Math IC test will verify either Algebra I or Algebra II, but not both.

The SOL test answer documents have been changed to provide for the identification of students electing to use a substitute test in lieu of a SOL test. It will be the responsibility of the school division to forward to the Division of Assessment and Reporting the scores of students electing substitute tests. Further specifics will be conveyed at a later date.

The scores resulting from substitute tests do not arrive in school divisions as quickly as those of the SOL tests. This will necessitate planning at the local level in two areas:

    1. Counseling of students: The Standards of Accreditation in 8 VAC 20-131-50 L. require that students be counseled regarding the impact the receipt of scores might have on their individual situations. Such impacts include, in the short term, any impact on local incentives such as exam exemptions or calculations of grades, and, in the long term, the impact on the ability to graduate if the verified credit is an immediate need;



    3. Planning to convey substitute test scores: Divisions should begin now to lay the groundwork for conveying the scores of students to the Department of Education in a timely manner.
The new Standards of Accreditation 8 VAC 20-131-280 state that the evaluation of the performance of schools shall take into consideration:

C.2.a. The percentage of eligible students who achieve a passing score on the prescribed SOL tests or additional tests (approved by the Board of Education) used for verified units of credit.

C.3. The awarding of an accreditation rating shall be based on the percentage of students passing SOL tests or approved additional tests described in 8 VAC 20-131-110.B, or a trailing three-year average that includes the current year scores and the scores from the two most recent years, in each applicable academic area, or the current year’s scores, whichever is higher.

The performance of students on the substitute tests will be incorporated into the accreditation calculations. It is important that the Department of Education receive substitute test scores in a timely manner so they may be incorporated into the school accreditation calculations.

Questions regarding the substitute tests should be directed to the Division of Assessment and Reporting at (804) 225-2102. Questions regarding the use of the substitute tests for accreditation ratings should be directed to Charles Finley, assistant superintendent for accountability services at

(804) 786-9421 or