Hampton Roads SOL results reflect recent test changes


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Results of the 2013-2014 Standards of Learning tests were released in Virginia Wednesday morning.

Compared to SOL scores from last year, students in Hampton Roads are showing improvement in math, but continue to struggle with reading and writing. Scores for history are about the same as last year, and changes in science scores vary in each of the seven cities.

Statewide, the Virginia Department of Education said math scores went up, but reading, writing and science scores were “relatively flat,” in comparison to last year.

Things to remember when deciphering SOL results: Virginia introduced tougher math standards for the SOL tests in 2011-12 and new standards for reading, writing and science last year. And typically, when the test changes, scores fluctuate, as teachers and students adjust.

“The emphasis of the entire SOL program has shifted from minimum statewide expectations for competency to college and career readiness,” Board of Education President Christian N. Braunlich said in a news release Tuesday. “The board knew that, with 132 school divisions and more than 1,850 schools, meeting these expectations would be a multiyear process as teachers, principals and other educators align curriculum and pedagogy to the higher standards.”

School accreditation rates — which are largely determined by SOL scores — will be released next month. In a news released, Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said he expects an increase in the number of Virginia schools that will not meet accreditation standards. That, however, has to be viewed in the context of the changing SOL standards, he said.

“Students are not learning less; the state has raised the bar, and the academic reviews VDOE will conduct this year will provide opportunities for school divisions and the department to identify best practices that will help students meet these new standards,” Staples said.

To compare SOL results for specific school districts, click here. To see results for individual schools, click here.

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