Superintendent's Memo #016-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

January 21, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Passing Scores Adopted by the Board of Education for the New End-of-Course History/Social Science Tests Based on the 2008 Standards of Learning

At its January 13, 2011, meeting the Virginia Board of Education adopted passing scores for the new end-of-course history/social science tests that measure the 2008 Standards of Learning (SOL). The new "cut" scores, which are expressed in the number of items a student must answer correctly, were adopted for the achievement levels of "pass/proficient" and "pass/advanced."  The passing scores for each of the new end-of-course tests are shown below:

Test Pass/Proficient Pass/Advanced
World History I 31 53
World History II 31 52
Virginia and United States History 30 53
World Geography 33 54

These cut scores will be communicated to Pearson, Virginia's testing contractor, so that the work necessary to implement these cut scores and report the results of the new end-of-course history tests administered in fall 2010 can begin. Student level results for the new history tests administered in fall 2010 should be available no later than mid-February 2011. It is important to remember that the cut scores listed above apply only to the test form that was reviewed by the standard setting committee. Other forms of the end-of-course history tests will be statistically equated to the "standard setting" test form to ensure that the same level of achievement is required of all students taking a test for a particular course. As a result of the equating process, the number of items a student is required to answer correctly to be "pass/proficient" or "pass/advanced" may fluctuate slightly.

In addition, please note that these passing scores are applicable only to the new history tests that measure the full implementation of the 2008 history content standards. Students who took a history course before fall 2010 and who are now re-taking the associated end-of-course test for verified credit will continue to take tests that measure the 2001 history standards. The cut scores on these tests are unaffected by the Board's action.

If you have questions, please contact the student assessment staff at or (804) 225-2102.