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Feb 12

Governor Supports House Bill to Reduce SOL Assessments

 In an announcement released from the Governor McCauliffe’s office on February 11, the governor and Secretary of Education Anne Holton state their support of House Bill 930.  This bill, submitted by Delegates Tag Greason and Rob Kupricka, has been passed by the House of Delegates and now moves to the Senate. This piece of legislation is intended to reform the SOLs by reducing the number of tests to allow students and teachers to focus on key areas of instruction in each grade level. 

This bill reads in part”…the number and type of Standards of Learning assessments shall not exceed 17 specified assessments in grades three through eight.”  In addition, it states for “each local school board to certify that it has provided instruction and administered an alternative assessment..for each subject area in which the Standards of Learning assessment was not administered.”  If you would like to review the entire bill as passed, please go to: 

 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=141&typ=bil&val=hb930&submit=GO

All well and good you might say as a middle school administrator and to a point, this author will agree with you. One concern sort of sticks out there like the elephant in the room: at what point will judgements be made after school divisions define what is an appropriate “alternative assessment” and how well will it assess the content? Also, if these assessments are not considered acceptable, who/what agency is going to step up and recommend/demand a change in the assessment format and rigor?  Careful consideration of the success of the elementary and middle school alternative assessments will hopefully pan out before the policy change comes to Virginia’s high schools. Let us wait and see whether to frown or smile.

If you would like to read the governor’s commentary,  please go to:https://governor.virginia.gov/news/newsarticle?articleId=3272