students testing on computers in the classroom

SOL Testing Program

  • UPDATE for School Year 2020-2021:

    Virginia Assessment Program  -  Test Administration Information 

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:

    The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) requires that all state and federal assessments must be delivered under secure, standardized testing conditions in the presence of school personnel and may not be administered remotely to students. Students in any instructional model (100% distance or hybrid) must attend school in-person to participate in testing. To support our students’ health and safety, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) will ensure that health mitigation procedures are in place and social distancing is observed. Transportation can be provided if needed.

    LCPS will be administering federal and state assessments to students during the following test windows*

    • Spring Writing: March 1-March 26 with a possible extension to April 9
    • Spring Non-Writing: May 3-May 28 with a possible extension through the last day of school

    *Subject to change based on direction from VDOE

    The United States Department of Education is not granting states a waiver from federal assessments for the 2020-2021 school year, despite the variety of instructional models across the nation. Students will continue to be assessed in Reading, Mathematics, and Science. 

    VDOE is not providing any waivers from state assessment during the 2020-2021 school year. Students will continue to be assessed in History and Writing. 

    Students enrolled in a high school level course must accrue standard credits by passing the course and verified credits by passing SOL tests or board-approved substitute tests toward graduation. VDOE is not planning to modify diploma requirements.

    While we encourage all students to participate in assessment, we understand that some families may retain concerns about the in-person testing requirement. Parents who do not wish for their student to participate in state and/or federally mandated assessments may indicate their refusal by completing this form or by emailing their student's School Testing Coordinator. More information can also be found on our Parent Rights webpage.

    Questions regarding assessment administration or requirements may be addressed to Leigh.Bennett@lcps.org, Supervisor, Assessment Services, and/or the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Assessment and Student Achievement at (804) 225-2102. 

     

     ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to demonstrate at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health/physical education and driver education. SOL ensure that students across the state are taught the same content at nearly the same time. Cumulative, annual assessments – SOL tests and alternative assessments – provide information on individual student achievement. For additional information on testing, accommodations, or score reports please contact your school's School Test Coordinator.

    SOL scaled scores are usually posted Monday-Friday in ParentVUE within 24-48 hours of the student's completion of the test. Parents can access the 'Documents' portion of ParentVUE to view their child's SOL Student Detail By Question Report usually within 2 weeks of the closure of the division's test window. VAAP Reports are posted in ParentVUE at the conclusion of the state audit, usually in early August.

     

    Standards of Learning Tests

    The table below lists various SOL tests by grade level. This information has been updated to reflect recent changes in legislation.

    Grade 3

    Grade 4

    Grade 5

    Grade 6

    Grade 7

    Grade 8

    End of Course

     

    Writing

    Writing

    Reading

    Reading

    Reading

    Reading

    Reading

    Reading

    Reading (English)

    Math

    Math

    Math

    Math

    Math

    Math

    Algebra I

    Geometry

    Algebra II

     

    Virginia Studies

     

    Civics & Economics

    World History I

    World History II

    VA & US History

    World Geography

     

    Science

     

    Science

    Earth Science

    Biology

    Chemistry

    The SOL tests contain multiple-choice, drag and drop, single response, and a variety of other test items types. The SOL tests are untimed and students are permitted to work until the end of the school day.  

     

    Standards of Learning (SOL) Division Test Schedules

    All dates are subject to change based on direction from the Virginia Department of Education.
     
    Spring Writing SOL Test Administration: March 1-26, 2021 with a possible extension through April 9.
     
    Spring Non-Writing SOL Test Administration: May 3-28, 2021 with a possible extension through the last day of school.
     
    Expedited retakes may be administered through the last day of the school year

SOL Testing Topics

Released tests are representative of the content and skills included in the Virginia SOL tests and are provided to assist in understanding the format of the tests and questions. Test item sets rather than full released tests are being provided for some SOL courses since the test item bank for those courses cannot support a full release. Raw score to scaled score tables cannot be provided for the test item sets because they do not represent full test forms. Likewise, a raw score to scaled score table cannot be provided for the MC/TEI component of the End-of-Course Writing test because it does not represent a full test form.

The online version of the tests or test item sets is no longer available since the test delivery software has changed. The PDF version will contain the answer key for all items in the test or test item set.

The PDF documents for tests and test item sets released in spring 2015 and spring 2014 show images of the test items as they appeared in an online test format. Due to variability in computer monitors, color in an item may appear differently on one monitor as compared to another.

Access Released Tests Here

The practice item sets provide:

  • examples that are representative of content included in the Standards of Learning as they are revised;
  • examples that show increased rigor;
  • examples of technology-enhanced items (TEI) and opportunities to experience TEI functionality;
  • opportunities to practice with the online tools and features that are available in TestNav 8 during online SOL testing;
  • opportunities to navigate through and interact with the TestNav 8 online testing software.

Please note that the practice items are not intended to be a complete test and are not intended to cover all content for the grade level or course. Furthermore, while the practice items provide examples of some TEI, they are not intended to represent all types of functionality associated with these item types.

 

In order to access the Practice Items, students/parents must download the TestNav 8 app.

Instructions for downloading the app

 
 
 
 

Beginning with the spring 2019 test administration, the revised Standards of Learning assessments measuring the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning that are administered online will include access to Desmos Virginia versions of the online calculators. Grades 4 and 5 Mathematics tests will have the Desmos Virginia Four-Function Calculator in the tool bar for the calculator active part of the test. The Grades 6 and 7 Mathematics tests will have the Desmos Virginia Scientific Calculator in the tool bar for the calculator active parts of the test, and the Grade 8 Mathematics test will have the Desmos Virginia Scientific Calculator in the tool bar for the entire test. End-of-Course (EOC) mathematics tests will have the Desmos Virginia Graphing Calculator available for the entire test.  Students will continue to have the traditional four-function calculator available in the tool bar in all online science assessments.

Using Desmos as an embedded calculator in the testing environment creates a standardized and consistent testing platform as every student will be using the same calculator on the Standards of Learning assessment. Currently, a variety of different brands and types of calculators are approved for use on Standards of Learning assessments, and this requires school divisions and the Virginia Department of Education to regularly ensure that newly developed features are consistent, equitable, and fair for use on assessments.

The Desmos graphing calculator allows users to view and manipulate multiple representations simultaneously, promoting a deeper conceptual understanding of mathematics. Desmos has features that promote student inquiry and help students understand the rich connections and complexity of mathematics. Today’s students are connected to technology through the use of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The ability to leverage Desmos as a form of instructional technology that melds into the current ways students are accessing information can translate to higher student engagement and meaningful math inquiry.
Desmos is currently available on assessments in a number of states and is now included as an embedded tool on the calculator portion of the new digital SAT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9. 

 
 
 
 Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, Loudoun County Public Schools will be using Desmos exclusively on 2016 mathematics SOL tests. Individualized Education Program Teams (IEP) will continue to determine a student's eligibility to use a hand held calculator in place of the embedded Desmos calculator and/or to use a hand held calculator other than those approved by VDOE. The IEP team must complete the Calculator Accommodation Criteria Form to document the student's eligibility to use a hand-held calculator.
 

After items are developed by the contractor [Pearson], they are brought to SOL Item and Test Review committees each summer. Committees of Virginia teachers comprised from all Superintendents’ regions of the Commonwealth are convened to review New Items and Data Review Items (refer to image below). These teachers apply to serve on these committees and are selected via an application process.

 
During the review of new items, teachers are tasked with checking each item for its:

• match to the indicated SOL
• appropriateness
• fairness

 
The following guiding questions are used:

• Does the item measure the Standard of Learning it was designed to measure?
• Does the item appropriately measure content or skills that students in Virginia should be required to have near the end of the designated grade or course?
• Does the item unfairly advantage or disadvantage students on the basis of characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, religion, geographic region, or socioeconomic status?
Universal Design is incorporated in Assessment
• Allows participation of the widest possible range of students
• Adds a dimension of fairness to the process
• Results in student performance should not be affected by disability, gender, race, or English-language ability

 
The Principles of Universal Design in Assessment are:

1. Inclusive assessment population
2. Precisely defined constructs
3. Accessible, non-biased items
4. Amenable to accommodations
5. Simple, clear, and intuitive instructions and procedures
6. Maximum readability and comprehensibility
7. Maximum legibility

 
Thompson, S., Johnstone, C. J., & Thurlow, M. L. (2002). Universal design applied to large scale assessments (Synthesis Report 44). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.
 
Once items have been reviewed, the items are then field tested with students. Field-tested items do not count towards a student's score. After field testing, the items are once again brought before a committee of teachers (same application process as previously mentioned). Teachers once again review the items along with the data collected on the item. If items meet the three guiding questions and are accepted by the committee of teachers, the item is then placed into the test item bank and is eligible to be delivered to students.

 

Pictorial diagram of how a test item is developed

 

Online is now the primary delivery mode for all SOL assessments, although SOL tests continue to be available in paper-and-pencil format for students with a documented need. The benefits of online testing for students and schools include:

  • Faster return of student scores
  • Increased instructional and remediation time due to timely return of student results
  • Improved efficiency of data collection and management
  • Increased accuracy of student data
  • Increased security of test content and student data
  • Reduced administrative burdens on school and division staff
  • The ability to include "technology-enhanced" items that allow students to indicate their responses in ways other than multiple choice that also may demonstrate critical-thinking skills

 
Hear teachers discuss the new technology enhanced items in mathematics SOL tests (narrated video)

Virginia’s online assessment program is made possible by the General Assembly through Virginia’s SOL Technology Initiative, which provides funding for school divisions to secure and update hardware and infrastructure resources.

Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) is part of the Virginia Department of Education’s continuing efforts to improve the testing experience for students. CAT assessments are individualized for each student; a student’s response to an item determines the difficulty level of the next item. A correct response leads to a similarly difficult or more difficult item, while an incorrect response results in a less difficult item. This customization is anticipated to increase student engagement. CAT tests are also shorter than traditional SOL tests, often by ten or more questions.

The most important difference with CAT tests is that the student may not go back and revisit any test item or change their answer once it has been selected/input. Students may not skip questions either. The computer-based algorithm that selects the next test item based on the previous item's answer would not remain functional if the student was able to go back and modify previous answers as those changes would impact all subsequent test items. This represents a different way to approach problem solving and testing and should be addressed early in the school year so that students are prepared for the assessment administration.

Learn more about Virginia's adaptation of computer adaptive testing.

Learn more about the principles of computer adaptive testing.

Last Modified on January 18, 2021