Superintendent's Memo #200-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

July 22, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Spring 2012 Writing Field Test

Beginning with the spring 2013 test administration, the Standards of Learning (SOL) writing test will be administered online. In addition, the writing tests administered in spring 2013 will assess the full implementation of the 2010 English SOL and will include technology-enhanced items.   In preparation for these changes, a full scale field test for the writing tests will occur in spring 2012.

All students who are scheduled to take the grade 5, grade 8 and end-of-course writing tests in spring 2012 will also participate in the online field test.  The field test for the writing prompts will occur from February 13-February 24, 2012, and the field test for the multiple-choice and technology-enhanced items will take place from March 12-April 6, 2012.  School divisions may select dates for the field test administration within these windows.  The regular paper/pencil test administration of the writing test will occur as scheduled in early March 2012.

A practice tool that mirrors the online interface that students will use to respond to the writing prompt during the field test will be available on the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Web site in early August 2011. Teachers should be encouraged to use this practice tool with their students throughout the school year.  In addition, practice items that provide examples of the technology-enhanced items that will appear on the new online writing tests will be available on the VDOE Web site in the late fall.  Additional information about the online writing field test will be provided to Division Directors of Testing as it becomes available.

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