Superintendent’s Memo #234-15

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

September 18, 2015

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Implementation of New Test Delivery Software (TestNav 8) for Elementary Online Standards of Learning Tests in Spring 2017

As communicated to school divisions via Superintendent’s Memoranda No. 056-14, dated March 7, 2014, and No. 215-14, dated August 15, 2014, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has been working to expand the types of devices approved for use in the administration of online Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Pearson, the state assessment contractor for Virginia, currently delivers all of Virginia’s online SOL tests using version 7 of their TestNav™ software which is primarily compatible with Microsoft Windows®-based and Mac OS®-based hardware.

A new version of Pearson’s test delivery software, TestNav 8, supports the use of additional devices (e.g., Google™ Chromebooks, Apple iPads®, Android™ tablets), including touch-screen devices, while continuing to support the use of Microsoft Windows®-based and Mac OS®-based workstations. The TestNav 8 software allows tests to be delivered securely in a Web browser or through a custom application.

Before Virginia’s SOL tests can be administered in TestNav 8, significant work is necessary to convert existing test items into formats that are compatible with the new software.  The conversion work has begun; however, the volume of test content is large and converting this content for all grade levels and subject areas will take a substantial amount of time and attention to detail. To have a successful transition to TestNav 8 for school divisions, time is required to adequately train school division staff, prepare school hardware, and familiarize students with the nuances of a different SOL testing interface.

The VDOE currently anticipates that the SOL tests typically administered to students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will be the first tests delivered in TestNav 8.  Specifically, beginning with the spring 2017 test administration, the following elementary SOL tests will be administered via TestNav 8: Grades 3 through 5 Mathematics, Grades 3 through 5 Reading, Grade 5 Science, and Virginia Studies.  It is important to note that during the 2015-2016 school year, all online SOL tests will continue to be administered in the existing TestNav 7 delivery system.

For school divisions to become familiar with the TestNav 8 delivery system in advance of the spring 2017 test administration, the existing SOL practice item sets on the VDOE Web site will be made available in TestNav 8 during the 2015-2016 school year. These practice items will serve as an introduction to the new online navigation, online tools, item formatting, and overall functionality and appearance of TestNav 8. Providing practice item sets in TestNav 8 will also allow school division staff to experience the technical changes and updated system requirements of TestNav 8 prior to spring 2017. School divisions will be notified when the TestNav 8 practice items are available on the VDOE Web site.

Additional information regarding the implementation of TestNav 8, including a schedule for the implementation of the remaining SOL tests in TestNav8, will be communicated as details become available. If you have questions, please contact the student assessment staff by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 225-2102.