Superintendent’s Memo #276-13

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

October 11, 2013

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Understand Scoring Application Updated to Include Practice and Verification Sets of Student Papers to Reflect the 2010 English Standards of Learning

As conveyed in Superintendent’s Memo #063-13, dated March 8, 2013, the Understand Scoring application has been updated to provide information about the new grade 5, grade 8, and end-of-course writing assessments that are based on the 2010 English Standards of Learning (SOL).  This site has now been further updated to include sets of student papers that individuals can use to practice scoring and to evaluate the accuracy of the scores they assign.

Understand Scoring provides educators with information about the SOL writing assessments, including the rubrics and anchor papers that illustrate each score point on the composing/written expression and usage/mechanics domains used to score the short paper components of the writing tests.  This program provides an opportunity to study anchor papers that illustrate each score point of each domain and promote understanding of the differences between score points. Participants will be able to score papers in verification sets and view scoring based on Virginia's two-domain scoring rubric. Teachers will gain a better understanding of the Virginia Standards of Learning Direct Writing Assessments for grade 5, grade 8, and end-of-course; understand the use of rubrics in scoring student writing; and develop consistency in scoring actual student work.

All previous accounts have been deleted; in order to practice scoring, teachers must create a new user account using the keyword “Virginia.”  The link to the Understand Scoring application can be found on the Virginia Department of Education Web site at

Teachers may also use this program with students to facilitate their understanding of the expectations in each of the domains. The guest user function was designed specifically to allow students to access the system without having to create an account or save information.

For further information, please contact Tracy Fair Robertson, English coordinator, Office of Humanities and Early Childhood, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 371-7585; or the student assessment staff, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 225-2102.