For Immediate Release:
Aug. 14, 2012
|For more information, contact the Dept. of School and Community Relations at 703-228-6004 www.apsva.us |
APS Announces 2012 SOL Test Results
Arlington Outperforms State on New More Rigorous Mathematics Tests
Arlington Public Schools students outperformed their peers around the state on new State mathematics tests across all grade levels and the curriculum, from Grade 3 mathematics to Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, exceeding state passing rates by 7 to 17 percentage points. APS released its results in concert with state-wide results published by the Virginia Department of Education today.
Reviewing the results, Superintendent Patrick Murphy emphasized his pride in Arlington’s students and their teachers. “These results reflect the hard work done in the past year by students to master the new, more challenging mathematics standards. We credit students and teachers for their abilities to meet the higher expectations set by the new standards. While work remains to ensure that all students are mastering this more rigorous content, the results are a strong indication of the continued excellence of Arlington’s academic programs.”
Dr. Murphy added that he agreed with the assessment by State Board of Education President David M. Foster, an Arlington resident and a former APS School Board member: “As school divisions align curriculum and instruction with the new standards and focus on strengthening students’ problem-solving skills, I am confident that we will see higher achievement in mathematics and more graduates who are truly college and career ready.”
More Rigorous College and Career Ready State Standards
Under its new Strategic Plan, the Arlington Public Schools has set as its first goal ensuring that every student is challenged and engaged. The goal establishes a framework that ensures that a core set of standards-based concepts and competencies form the basis of what all students learn.
Paralleling Arlington’s effort, Virginia is implementing more rigorous English, mathematics, history and science standards with expectations that meet national and international benchmarks for college-and-career readiness. Students are being tested on these more rigorous content standards, adopted by the State Board of Education, as follows:
History began with the 2010-11 school year;
Mathematics beginning with the 2011-12 school year;
English beginning with the 2012-13 school year; and
Science beginning in the 2012-13 school year.
As teachers adjust their instruction to these new standards, school divisions typically experience a downturn in pass rates during the first year the new standards are assessed, followed by a return to higher levels of performance. This was evident in the history results last year and in mathematics results this year. Still, Arlington students outperformed their peers across the state, with higher pass rates on mathematics tests at all school levels—elementary, middle, and high.
Mathematics SOL Results for 2011-12
State Pass Rate
Arlington Pass Rate
Grade 3 Mathematics
Grade 4 Mathematics
Grade 5 Mathematics
Grade 6 Mathematics
Grade 7 Mathematics
Grade 8 Mathematics
Source: VDOE News Release, August 14, 2012
With these new standards, APS also raised its passing rate in Grade 6 mathematics by 16 points, from 65 percent in 2010-11 to 81 percent in 2011-12.
The State Board of Education strengthened Virginia’s mathematics standards in 2009 to ensure that Virginia public school students are prepared for the challenges of the first year of college or meaningful entry-level employment when they graduate from high school. The 2011-12 SOL mathematics tests were the first to reflect the increased rigor of the new standards. The online mathematics SOL tests, taken by almost all Arlington students, included new technology-enhanced items designed to mirror common classroom experiences. The items also require students to apply mathematical knowledge in solving multistep problems.
Statewide and in Arlington, students had the most difficulty on the Grade 3, Grade 7 and Grade 8 mathematics tests. As VDOE has explained, the third-grade test no longer assesses K-2 content. The seventh-grade assessment includes additional content and concepts formerly taught and tested in grade 8. The increased rigor of the eighth-grade standards is designed to prepare students who were not ready for Algebra I in middle school to tackle the course during their freshman year in high school.
SOL Results in Other Content Areas
The state also released 2011-12 SOL results in English, science and history/social science. State achievement levels in these subjects were relatively stable, with a few noteworthy gains made by Arlington students, especially in high school end-of-course tests required for graduation. For example, APS achieved:
A six-point gain in World History I pass rates, from 81 percent in 2010-11 to 87 percent in 2011-12.
A five-point increase in Chemistry pass rates, from 80 percent in 2010-11 to 85 percent in 2011-12.
Three-point gains in pass rates for Earth Science, from 89 percent in 2010-11 to 92 percent in 2011-12.
In addition, Arlington pass rates continue to meet or exceed 90 percent across all grade-levels in these other content areas:
- Reading pass rates are at 90 percent in Grades 4, 5, and 8, with 95 percent of our students passing the end of course English/Reading test required for graduation.
- Performance in writing continues to exceed 90 percent at all grade levels tested: Grade 5 (93%), Grade 8 (91%) and on the end of course writing test required for graduation (95%).
- Pass rates in History and Social Science are in the 80-90 percent range and reached 92 percent in Virginia Studies, curriculum taught in the fourth grade in Arlington schools.
- Science pass rates exceed 90 percent in Grade 3 and Grade 8 (93%) as well as on the end of course tests required for graduation—Biology (93%), Chemistry (90%), and Earth Science (92%).
Finally, in addition to outpacing the state on most mathematics assessments, Arlington continues to outperform the state in writing at all grade-levels, for example, by 6 percentage points in Grade 5.
State, division and school results are available with the VDOE News release from earlier today. More detailed SOL results for the division and all schools will be available on the Virginia School Report Card from the Virginia Department of Education in September.