P.O. BOX 2120
March 16, 2001

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Clarification: Participation of Students with Disabilities in the Standards of Learning Assessment

Supts Memo No. 2, Interpretive (November 22, 2000), provided guidance on the participation of students with disabilities in the Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment. The expectation that all children participate in the state accountability system formed the basis for that memo. The memo advised that students with disabilities who are not candidates for alternate assessment do not have to take all SOL tests to be considered as participants in the accountability system. The decisions associated with this issue are to be made by the IEP team. The expectation is that students with disabilities will participate in all of the assessments to the extent deemed appropriate by the IEP team and based upon the instruction the student is receiving. However, if the IEP team determines that the student can only participate in one test, this test must be in one of the core areas: English, mathematics, science, or history and social science. Such participation will satisfy the federal requirement that students with disabilities participate in the state accountability system.

Because the results of the grades 5 and 8 SOL tests in technology are not used in calculating the school accreditation rating, they may not be the sole SOL test administered to satisfy this requirement. Therefore, the IEP for each student with a disability must specify either participation in the alternate assessment or in any or all of the above referenced SOL tests in the four core academic areas.

Reference is made to the departmentís document entitled Participation of Students with Disabilities in Virginiaís State Assessment System (September 1998). You are urged to make certain that all teachers and administrators who participate on IEP teams are familiar with this document so as to utilize the testing accommodations to the extent possible. This document is posted on the DOE website at You are also reminded that SOL tests administered with nonstandard accommodations still count in calculating the schoolís accreditation rating.

These provisions are for the 2001-2002 school year and beyond. Therefore, if the IEP for the 2000-2001 school year specifies the SOL technology test as the means by which the student will participate in the accountability system, such is permissible.

Questions about this matter may be referred to Mr. H. Douglas Cox, assistant superintendent, Division of Instructional Support Services at (804) 225-3252.