Superintendent’s Memo #278-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

September 30, 2011

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Implementation of New Reading and Writing 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 English SOL.  In preparation for the implementation of the new reading and writing assessments measuring the 2010 SOL, new test blueprints have been developed.

The end-of course (EOC) reading assessment developed using the new blueprint will be administered for the first time in the fall 2012 administration. The remainder of the new reading (grades 3-8) blueprints and all of the new writing (grades 5 and 8 and EOC) blueprints will be effective with the spring 2013 test administration.

The new reading and writing test blueprints may be accessed and downloaded at:

Field Testing in Spring 2012

The revised reading and writing 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 English SOL in the 2011-2012 school year, as field test items in spring 2012 will include new content from the 2010 reading and writing 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 reading and writing test.  Practice items will be available to students by February 2012 on the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Web site. School divisions will be notified when the practice items have been posted.

In addition, a practice tool that mirrors the online interface students will use to respond to the writing prompt is now available on the VDOE Web site.  Teachers should be encouraged to use this practice tool with their students throughout the school year beginning in 2011-2012.  The Writing Practice Tool can be found at:

Checklist for Writers

A new Checklist for Writers (grades 5, 8 and EOC) has been developed for use with the 2010 English SOL.  The Checklists for Writers 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.