Superintendent’s Memo #186-15

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

July 31, 2015

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Optional Administration of Grades 4 and 5 Reading Tests Over Two Days

With the implementation of the 2010 English Standards of Learning (SOL), some school divisions have reported an increase in the amount of time students are taking to complete the grades 4 and 5 SOL reading tests. School division staff expressed concern regarding the impact of increased testing time for students at these grade levels. In response to this concern, beginning with the 2016 spring test administration, school divisions will have the option of administering the grades 4 and 5 SOL reading tests over two days. Similar to the grade 3 reading test, a section break has been added approximately half way through each test. As with the grade 3 test, each test can be administered in one day, with at least a fifteen-minute break between the two sections of the test, or the tests can be administered over a two-day period. If divisions opt for a two-day administration, section one must be administered on the first day and section two must be administered on the second day.

The SOL tests for grades 6-8 reading and for end-of-course reading will continue to be administered in one day. However, as previously communicated to school division staff, a supervised break is permissible for any student who may require a break during testing. Test security must be maintained at all times during the break. The student must not be allowed to discuss the test, have access to any educational materials and electronic devices, or disrupt other students who are continuing to test.

Additional information about the option of administering the grades 4 and 5 reading SOL tests over two days will be provided to division directors of testing and will be included in the Spring 2016 Non-Writing Test Implementation Manual and Examiner’s Manuals.

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