Superintendent's Memo #207-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

July 29, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Sample History Items

As you are aware, new tests that measure the 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning (SOL) were first administered in 2010-2011.  While these new tests include the same types of items as those administered on previous tests, the new history tests do have more items at higher cognitive levels than on previously administered history tests.  Approximately 50 percent of the questions on the new tests require students to apply knowledge, compare information, or analyze/interpret information in order to respond to the item.

Sample items which reflect the increased rigor of the items on the new history tests are available at:
Please note that while all SOL tests contain items that have a wide range of difficulty and cognitive levels, these sample items are intended to provide examples of more rigorous items.

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