students testing on computers in the classroom

SOL Testing Program

  • 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.


    Parents/Guardians can find assessment resources on VDOE's webpage HERE.

    Parents/Guardians can also access a Student Detail By Question (SDBQ) Overview Document HERE. SDBQ reports are provided to parents for SOL tests and the Virginia Growth Assessment through ParentVUE, in the Documents tab. 

    SOL scaled scores are usually posted Monday-Friday in ParentVUE within 24-48 hours of the student's completion of the test.

    When are scores/reports available?

    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.

    Grade 3

    Grade 4

    Grade 5

    Grade 6

    Grade 7

    Grade 8

    End of Course










    Reading (English)







    Algebra I


    Algebra II


    Virginia Studies


    Civics & Economics

    World History I

    World History II

    VA & US History

    World Geography

    History SOL tests have been replaced with district performance assessments for most students





    Earth Science



    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 4-22, 2024.
    Spring Non-Writing SOL Test Administration: May 6-31, 2024 with expedited retakes offered through the last day of school.
    Please contact your student's school for their selected test window within the division's window.

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.

Introductory video for the four-function calculator
Introductory video for the scientific calculator

Introductory video for the graphing calculator
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.

It takes two years to move an item from the development cycle to when it will be used operationally on an SOL test.

The first step is the contractor develops items based on the Standards of Learning (SOL) and Curriculum Frameworks (CF). The items go through contractor internal reviews to make sure they assess what they are supposed to assess and that they are fair and appropriate for students.

The items are then brought to Virginia educators. Virginia educators use their professional judgment to make sure each item measures what it is intended to measure and that it is fair and appropriate for a student to take at the end of the grade or course.

Items are then tried out also known as “field testing.” After the items are field tested, they are brought back to committee with data. Virginia educators review the same items for the second time with item-level data showing student performance on the items. Virginia educators again use their professional judgment to review each item to make sure it measures what it is intended to measure and that it is fair and appropriate for students.

The items that survive both the new item review and the item data review are added to the item bank and then can be used on an actual test form. The statistics that are associated with the item are used to assign item level difficulty.

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 adaption of computer adaptive testing.

Last Modified on April 29, 2024