Superintendent's Memo #223-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

September 17, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Implementation of New Standards of Learning Test Blueprints for the 2009 Mathematics Standards of Learning

As stated in Superintendent's Memorandum #138-09, dated May 15, 2009, beginning in 2011-2012, the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests will assess full implementation of the 2009 Mathematics SOL. In preparation for implementation of the new assessments measuring the 2009 SOL, new mathematics test blueprints have been developed.

Assessments developed using the new blueprints will be administered for the first time in the fall 2011 administration for only the end-of-course (EOC) mathematics tests (Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II). The remainder of the new blueprints for the grades 3 through 8 mathematics tests will be implemented in the spring 2012 test administration.

Field Testing in Spring 2011

The revised mathematics test blueprints are being shared at this time to accommodate curriculum development and instructional planning. It is imperative that all school division staff understand that the new blueprints do not become effective until 2011-2012. However, school divisions should begin teaching the new content from the 2009 SOL in the 2010-2011 school year as field-test items in spring 2011 will include new content from the 2009 Mathematics SOL.

Technology-Enhanced Items

Some of the items field-tested in spring 2011 on the grades 6, 7, 8 and EOC online tests will be "technology-enhanced." These items will not be multiple-choice and will allow students to indicate their answers in other ways. Technology-enhanced items will also be developed for the mathematics tests for grades 3, 4, and 5 but will not be fully implemented until 2012-2013.

Practice Opportunities for Students

Approximately 10 practice test questions will be available for each mathematics test (grades 3 through 8 and EOC). These practice questions will provide students an opportunity to become familiar with the types of test questions that will be administered as part of the new mathematics tests. In addition, students will be able to practice the alternate ways of indicating their answers available in the new technology-enhanced items. Practice questions will be available to students by February 2011 on the Virginia Department of Education Web site. School divisions will be notified when the practice items have been posted.

Additional Ancillary Materials

Some Algebra II field test items will require students to analyze properties of normal distributions and apply those properties to determine probabilities associated with areas under the standard normal curve. While some students will use graphing calculators to respond to these questions, others may wish to use the table of Standard Normal Probabilities (z-table). A copy of the z-table that will be provided to students who are administered these items in spring 2011 is available on the 2010-2011 Ancillary Test Materials Web page.

TI-73 Explorer™ Graphing Calculator

The functionality of the TI-73 Explorer™ calculator is limited. While it has all the functionality required for the EOC mathematics tests that measure the 2001 SOL, it does not have all of the functionality required for some items developed to measure the 2009 Algebra II SOL. Because the Algebra II test for the spring 2011 test administration will have field test questions that measure the 2009 revised SOL, the TI-73 Explorer™ calculator is not recommended for the spring 2011 Algebra II test.

New Formula Sheets

New formula sheets have been developed for use with the grades 6 through 8 and EOC mathematics tests. These formula sheets will be effective for the EOC tests administered in fall 2011 and for the grades 6 through 8 mathematics tests administered in spring 2012. Copies of the new formula sheets may be found on the 2011-2012 Ancillary Test Materials Web page.

Should you have any questions, please contact the student assessment staff by e-mail at or by phone at (804) 225-2102.