P.O. BOX 2120
June 15, 2001
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Algebra Readiness Initiative

The purpose of this memo is to clarify information about the Algebra Readiness Initiative. The Standards of Learning Algebra Readiness Initiative was approved by the 2000 General Assembly for implementation during the second year of the 2000-2002 biennium. The purpose of the initiative is to provide mathematics intervention services to students in grades 6, 7, 8, and 9 who are at-risk of failing the Algebra I end-of-course test, as demonstrated by their individual performance on diagnostic tests that have been approved by the Department of Education. Students targeted to take the diagnostic tests will include those who meet the following criteria: students who were not successful in their previous intervention/remediation program; or students who performed below average in their previous yearís mathematics program or did not pass the state-administered Standards of Learning mathematics assessment test. Students targeted to participate in the intervention program will include those who did not pass the appropriate diagnostic test.

School divisions are eligible for incentive payments to provide mathematics intervention services to students in the targeted grades. The incentive payments will be based on the stateís share of the cost of providing two and one-half hours of additional instruction each week for an estimated number of students in each school division at a student-to-teacher ratio of ten to one. The estimated number of students in 2001-2002 shall be determined by multiplying the projected number of students in each school divisionís fall membership for grades 7 and 8 by the percent of students that failed the eighth-grade mathematics Standards of Learning test. School divisions receiving the incentive payments are required to match these funds based upon the composite index of local ability-to-pay.

School divisions must certify to the Department of Education that an intervention program will be offered to such students and that each student who receives intervention will be assessed again at the end of the year. The focus of the intervention is additional instructional time each week for the students participating in the program. The model for the additional instruction will be determined by the school division. School divisions shall report the results of the pre- and post-diagnostic tests for each student who receives intervention services to the Department of Education on an annual basis.

The Department of Education shall make state-provided diagnostic tests used in this initiative available to school divisions. School divisions have the option of using the state-provided diagnostic tests or using locally developed diagnostic tests that align with the criteria for diagnosis of mathematics deficiencies that are similar to criteria used in the state-provided tests and have been approved by the Department of Education. A Request for Proposal related to the Algebra Readiness Diagnostic Test is posted on the Virginia Department of Education website. The criteria established for the tests and a certification form for the initiative will be made available as soon as the contract is awarded.

If you have further questions about the Algebra Readiness Initiative, please contact Maureen Hijar ( at (804) 225-3616 or Dr. Patricia Wright ( at (804) 225-2979.