Superintendent's Memo #295-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

October 16, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Virginia Online Reading Tutorial and Virginia Online Algebra I Tutorial

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is pleased to announce statewide availability of both the Virginia Online Reading Tutorial and the Virginia Online Algebra I Tutorial. Both the reading and algebra tutorials are offered at no cost to school divisions pending availability of funding. Since their inception in the 2003-2004 school year, both tutorials have been effectively used by more than 51,000 students to assist them in earning standard and verified credits in English 11 and Algebra I.

Both tutorials are designed to determine student academic needs through an online assessment and to tailor Web-based lessons to those needs. Upon completion of all recommended lessons, students may take a final online assessment. Students may review tutorial lessons and retake the final online assessment until they and their teachers are confident the student is prepared for the appropriate Standards of Learning assessment.

The registration process remains the same this year. As in the past, teachers will register themselves via e-mailing the Excel spreadsheet to COREK-12. Teachers will create their own student accounts by uploading students into a secure website using students' State Testing Identifiers (STI). The STI is a ten-digit secure number, and it is essential that the STI be accurate. The STI will be encrypted as soon as it is entered and will not be visible to anyone. Teachers must reregister for the Tutorial each year as accounts are not carried over from year to year.

Prior to teachers requesting tutorial accounts, it is required that a school- or division-level administrator be registered. The administrator's job is to ensure that the tutorial accounts are used. The VDOE pays for each account once it is created. Teachers may be registered on the same spreadsheet.

A series of eight online training modules for teachers is available at http://www.doe.virginia.gov It is recommended that teachers new to the tutorials watch each of the training modules prior to using the tutorial with classes. Teachers create student accounts manually on the Assessment Center site once they are registered. Module 1 on the Video Training Site will guide teachers through this process. A manual training guide is also provided in the Program Materials link. A specific, step-by-step student registration manual will be attached to the welcome e-mail teachers receive from COREK-12.

For the Virginia Online Reading Tutorial, teachers may enroll seniors who have not passed the English Reading Standards of Learning assessment, or juniors determined to be at risk of not passing this same assessment. At risk is defined as those students who are reading below grade level. Registration will remain open all year. Students in grades nine and ten are not eligible for the reading tutorial.

The Virginia Online Algebra I Tutorial is available to students in grades 9 through 12 who have passed Algebra I (or Algebra I, Part 1, and Algebra I, Part 2; or have completed the algebra content in an integrated course series) but have failed the Algebra I Standards of Learning assessment. Teachers may also enroll high school students who are at risk of not passing the Algebra I Standards of Learning assessment. Individual students may be registered only once for each tutorial.

Although students may engage in lessons from home or school, each school must provide a teacher to serve as a mentor and guide to enrolled students. Teachers should be endorsed English or mathematics instructors. Teachers will have access to student accounts, will monitor student progress, and offer individual guidance.

All program materials, including registration information and online training modules are available at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov

For more information, please contact Tracy Fair Robertson, English coordinator, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 371-7585; or Michael Bolling, mathematics coordinator, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 786-6418.