Superintendent’s Memo #060-13

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

March 1, 2013

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Additional English Standards of Learning Resources

The Virginia Department of Education is pleased to announce additional instructional resources to support school division implementation of the 2010 English Standards of Learning (SOL):  the Vocabulary Resources Web page, Sample Text-Dependent Questions, Instruction Anchor Sets, and Narrated Demonstrations of Technology-Enhanced Items.

The Vocabulary Resources Web page highlights lesson plans from the English Enhanced Scope and Sequence Sample Lesson Plans, strategies, suggestions, resource links, and graphic organizers to assist teachers in all content areas and grade levels in vocabulary instruction.  Links to common Greek and Latin roots, online flash cards, and interactive games are provided.  Also provided are examples of the way vocabulary items will be tested on the 2013 SOL assessments.  The 2010 English Standards of Learning require students to expand their vocabularies as they advance from grade to grade; examples of skills students should know are listed on this Web site as well as in the English Curriculum Framework.

Sample Text-Dependent Questions for elementary, middle, and high schools provide a fiction sample text from the public domain and offer a series of text-dependent questions, companion nonfiction texts, and writing assignments.  Text-dependent questions do not ask students about their prior experience or feelings on a subject, but rather to rely on explicit or implied information from the text.  Students are expected to speak and write using evidence presented in texts, and to present analyses based on credible information that is based in the text or research-based.

Instruction Anchor Sets use the released Composing/Written Expression Domain score point 2 anchor papers to provide examples of questions, comments, and accompanying writing checklists that teachers can use to assist students in the revision and editing process in order to earn a higher score point.  Instruction anchor sets are provided for the grade 5, grade 8 and end-of-course Standards of Learning direct writing assessments.

The Narrated Demonstrations of Technology-Enhanced Items provide a demonstration of the functionality of various types of technology-enhanced item types that appear on the 2013 spring Reading and Writing SOL assessments. The new SOL assessments may consist of approximately 15 percent technology-enhanced items.

Questions regarding these instructional resources should be directed to Tracy Fair Robertson, English coordinator, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 371-7585; or Thomas Santangelo, elementary English specialist, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 225-3203; or Jacquelyn Kelley, English specialist, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 786-2484.  For questions on the Narrated Demonstrations, please contact the student assessment staff by e-mail at or by phone at (804) 225-2102.