Area schools meet SOL standards

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ninety-eight percent of Virginia’s public schools, including all schools in Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County, are fully accredited and meeting current state standards for achievement in English, mathematics, history and science based on 2009-10 assessment results, the Virginia Department of Education said Wednesday.

“Because of the extraordinary and sustained efforts of thousands of Virginia teachers, principals and other educators, almost all of our schools have achieved a goal that many thought was unrealistic when Standards of Learning (SOL) testing began in 1998,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright. “I encourage all of our teachers, administrators and other educators to keep this success in mind this year as they provide the instruction and guidance students will need to meet even more rigorous expectations for achievement in English, mathematics and history as well as new accreditation provisions related to graduation.”

Beginning with accreditation ratings announced next September, high schools will have to meet an annual objective for raising graduation rates to earn full accreditation. In September 2012, a pass rate of at least 75 percent in English reading will be required for all grade spans, and the required pass rates for elementary schools in science and history/social science will each rise to 70 percent — the same benchmark middle schools and high schools must meet. The higher pass rates had been scheduled to take effect in 2011 but were delayed one year by the General Assembly.

In addition, students will take more rigorous SOL mathematics tests beginning in 2011-12 and more rigorous tests in English reading the following year.

“Taken together, these steps will represent a substantial increase in the rigor of Virginia’s accountability program,” Board of Education President Eleanor B. Saslaw said. “The accreditation ratings we will announce a year from now will mark a new beginning as schools advance toward goals aligned with the latest national expectations for college and career readiness.”

The 2010-2011 ratings announced today represent the second consecutive year in which all but 2 percent of the commonwealth’s public schools are fully accredited. Students in 98 percent, or 1,815, of the commonwealth’s 1,850 schools met or exceeded state objectives on SOL tests and other statewide assessments in the four core academic areas.

For more on the accreditation ratings of Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County, see Friday’s print edition of The Tidewater News.