SOL Testing Information
***UPDATE January 2021***
- Why are we giving SOL tests this year when we didn’t last year?
In March 2020, Virginia public schools closed for the duration of the school year. Virginia was able to acquire a waiver from the United States Department of Education which freed us from having to administer federally mandated assessments in Reading, Math, and Science. Virginia also issued a waiver which freed us from having to administer state mandated assessments in Writing and History. To aid students in graduating or remaining on track to graduate, VDOE implemented emergency guidelines that allowed school divisions to award a locally-awarded verified credit to students enrolled in a high school level course at the time of the closure who passed the course/demonstrated mastery. Through this process students earned a verified credit without having to take an SOL test.
This year, schools are not closed and the United States Department of Education is not providing states a waiver. We must administer federally mandated assessments, regardless of the instructional model or health conditions. VDOE has attempted to support school divisions by offering the opportunity to provide performance assessments in place of SOL testing in Writing and History (state mandated assessments). LCPS is implementing the flexibility in all History and Social Science courses, but not in Writing. A combination of classroom assessments, projects/quizzes, and the performance assessments must cover all of the standards that would be assessed by the History and Social Science SOL test. Performance assessments will be scored by the classroom teacher using state rubrics. High school students who pass the course, pass the performance assessments, and demonstrate content mastery will be awarded a locally-awarded verified credit at the conclusion of the school year. SOL tests in Reading, Math, and Science remain the only way for students to earn a verified credit for their diploma.
It's important that parents and students understand that administering SOL tests is not a local decision. LCPS is complying with state and federal legislation (ESSA).
- Why can’t we give the SOL tests remotely?
SOL tests are proprietary assessments protected by a contractual agreement with the VDOE to maintain their security. Virginia is unable to administer SOL tests in a manner that would jeopardize their security. This includes remote administration which would be vulnerable to screen captures or other recording violations. Additionally, certain system and network requirements must be met to administer the SOL tests, which prevents the tests from being administered by non-VDOE approved entities.
- Are there alternatives to the SOL test?
There are no alternatives for students taking grade level SOL tests.
VDOE will accept set cut scores on approved tests in place of some high school level SOL tests. The most frequently used tests are the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and the ACT. Families wishing to explore this option should reach out to their School Counselor for support.
- How can you say it’s safe to test but it isn’t safe to instruct?
The United States Department of Education is not providing waivers from federal assessment and Virginia must administer the SOL tests in person; therefore, we are required to test students at school, regardless of our instructional model or rates of infection. LCPS has implemented rigorous health mitigation strategies to ensure the safety of students and staff while we meet these assessment mandates.
The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science and other subjects.
SOL tests in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history/social science measure the success of students in meeting the Board of Education’s expectations for learning and achievement. All items on SOL tests are reviewed by Virginia classroom teachers for accuracy and fairness and teachers also assist the state Board of Education in setting proficiency standards for the tests.
Frequently Asked Questions about SOL Testing (PDF) – Includes information on reduction in the number of tests, computer adaptive testing and other changes in the state assessment system
Tuscarora HS uses the Chromebooks issued to each student to administer tests. It is important to have a fully charged device for testing.
SOL testing takes place at various times throughout the year within test windows that are established by the State of Virginia. Please take a look at the SOL calendar so you will know when testing is planned. SOL testing will be done online for the following courses in May (check back to see the May 2021 calendar):
During testing, it is important that your child gets the appropriate rest, eats a well-balanced breakfast, brings their eyeglasses if needed, arrives at school on time, and brings their fully-charged LCPS issued Chromebook to school.