Sep 24

State Board President Foster Reflects on Recent SOL Assessment Results

Now that the updated SOL assessments in English and science have joined the cadre of scores in mathematics, it is time to review and read commentaries on the results, both positive and not-so-positive.  In a recent article in the Richmond Times Dispatch (September 22) , Mr. David Foster, president of the Virginia Board of Education, took the opportunity share his thoughts regarding the SOL scores for the 2012-2013 year. 

Once again, the efforts of our public school schools to adapt to a change in testing format and rigor have not produced exceptional results in the newly revised English and science assessments. This was not totally unexpected as the results from the 2011-2012 assessments in math were much lower than anticipated. This year, the mathematics SOL scores have rebounded and more than likely, the English and science scores for the 2013-2014 will also rebound. If you are capable of recalling the initial SOL assessment scores of the late 1990’s, the results in many schools were similarly abysmal. Over time, teachers and administrators were able to increase student achievement through a broader range of teaching skills and practices developed to provide deeper learning and understand of the content.

In his article, Mr. Foster recognized the efforts of the teachers in Virginia to improve instruction and raise the bar of achievemnt for our students. He wrote, “As schools adapt to the new SOLS and as our talented, hardworking teachers continue to engage students, I am confident that we will see improvement in English and science scores just as we did in math scores. In turn, we will improve the odds that our graduates are equipped to succeed in a competitive, fast-changing world.”

Unlike others in our Commonwealth, Mr. Foster did not search for blame nor demonstrate condemnation of our educators in Virginia.  Instead, he provided a postive outlook and recognizes the certainity that improved  student learning/understanding/application through advanced teaching methods will benefit our students and the Commonwealth as a whole.

If you would like to review his article, please go to: http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/their-opinion/columnists-blogs/guest-columnists/teachers-students-meet-new-challenging-sols/article_91fdca0f-90d9-51ee-b0ae-156033ac6e39.html