Dept. of Education: Norfolk schools not skewing SOL results

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – After serious allegations of testing irregularities just a few years ago, officials with Norfolk City Public Schools feel they are back on the right track.

“We were pleased this year that we felt we had fewer irregularities than in previous years, and also that we had no irregularities related to alleged breaches in test security,” said Elizabeth Mather, spokeswoman for the school system.

10 On Your Side spoke with Charles Pyle, a representative from the Virginia Department of Education, about the district’s SOL testing results. He confirmed that Norfolk schools were the only district in South Hampton Roads without allegations of deliberately skewing results on the SOL’s or helping an unknowing student violate regulations.

Pyle said irregularities for SOL testing are common and can stem from many less serious things, like power failures or a child getting sick. Mather credits better training for the turn-around with Norfolk schools.

“Norfolk Public Schools places a heavy emphasis on training for all staff members who are involved with high stakes testing,” Mather said. “We want to make sure all of our staff members know what’s expected of them so that they can help ensure smooth testing.”

After issues revealed by the 2009 SOL testing, district officials promised to take strong steps in the areas of oversight, training, transparency and consequences for failing to comply with regulations.

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