Superintendent's Memo #087-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 1, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Passing Scores Adopted by the Board of Education for the New Grade 3 and Content Specific History/Social Science Tests Based on the 2008 Standards of Learning

At its March 24, 2011, meeting the Virginia Board of Education adopted passing scores for the new Grade 3 and Content Specific 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 history/social science tests are shown below:

Test Pass/Proficient  Pass/Advanced
Grade 3 History 23 35
Virginia Studies 21 32
United States History to 1865 22 34
United States History: 1865 to the Present 22 34
Civics and Economics 21 34

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 history/social science tests administered in spring 2011 can begin. 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 grade 3 and content specific 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.

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