Superintendent’s Memo #258-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

September 16, 2011

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Implementation of the 2010 Science Standards of Learning Assessments

As stated in Superintendent’s Memorandum #031-10, dated February 5, 2010, beginning in 2012-2013, the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests will assess full implementation of the 2010 Science SOL.  In preparation for the implementation of the new assessments measuring the 2010 SOL, new science test blueprints have been developed.    

Assessments developed using the new blueprints will be administered for the first time in the fall 2012 administration for only the end-of-course (EOC) science tests (Earth Science, Biology, and Chemistry).  The remainder of the new science blueprints for grades 3, 5, and 8 will be effective with the spring 2013 test administration.

The new science blueprints may be accessed and downloaded at:

Field Testing in Spring 2012

The revised science 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 2012-2013.  However, school divisions should begin teaching the new content from the 2010 SOL in the 2011-2012 school year as field test items in spring 2012 will include new content from the 2010 Science SOL. 

Technology-Enhanced Items

Some of the items field-tested in the spring 2012 online tests will be “technology-enhanced.”  These items will not be multiple-choice and will allow students to indicate their answers in other ways.  

Practice Opportunities for Students
Practice technology-enhanced items (TEI) intended to provide students with practice in using alternate ways to indicate their answers will be made available for each science test.  Practice items will be available to students by February 2012 on the Virginia Department of Education Web site.  School divisions will be notified when the practice items have been posted. 

Periodic Table of the Elements

A new Periodic Table of the Elements has been developed for use with the new EOC Chemistry test, which will be administered in fall 2012.  The table will also be provided with some spring 2012 online tests since there may be field test items that require its use.  The new Periodic Table of the Elements may be found at:

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