ELA Assessments

Student writingElementary English Language Arts Assessments

English language arts instruction is assessed using multiple measures of informal and formal assessments including the following: These tests are typically administered by teachers throughout the school year.

Virginia Standards of Learning, Grades 3-5

The Virginia English Standards of Learning (SOL) define the curriculum for each grade level. All Virginia public school students are given multiple-choice standardized tests that assess the students’ understanding of the Standards of Learning. Schools are evaluated annually using the results of these high-stakes assessments. Information about the reading and the writing tests can be found at the Virginia Department of Education’s home page.

  • Standards of Learning ENGLISH: ReadingLiterature and Research Test: The SOL English: Reading/Literature and Research Test is given at grades 3-8 and in high school. The high school test is usually given at grade 11 and is referred to as the End-of-Course test.

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) was developed by the University of Virginia and is designed for early elementary literacy screening. The purpose of the test is to identify children in need of additional support in phonological awareness. All APS kindergarten students are given the PALS. Students that receive intervention in grades 1 and 2, as well as students new to Virginia in grades k-2, are also given PALS. From the PALS Web site:”The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is the state-provided screening tool for Virginia’s Early Intervention Reading Initiative, and is used by 98% of school districts in Virginia on a voluntary basis. PALS consists of two screening instruments, PALS-K (for students in kindergarten) and PALS 1-3 (for students in grades one through three), which measure young children’s knowledge of important literacy fundamentals, including phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, knowledge of letter sounds, spelling, concept of word, word recognition in isolation, and oral passage reading. The major purpose of PALS is to identify those students who are below grade-level expectations in these areas and may be in need of additional reading instruction funded through the EIRI. PALS can also be used as a diagnostic tool to provide teachers with explicit information about what their students know of these literacy fundamentals to help guide their teaching.”

Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)

The Developmental Reading Assessment provides teachers with a method for assessing and documenting primary students’ development as readers over time. Its purpose is to identify students’ reading level, defined as a text on which students meet specific criteria in terms of accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. Additional purposes include identifying students’ reading strengths and weaknesses, planning for instruction, monitoring reading growth. The assessments are conducted during one-on-one reading conferences as children read a set of leveled texts, which increase in difficulty.

Developmental Spelling Assessment (DSA)

The DSA, a qualitative assessment, is a series of spelling tests that increase in difficulty.  The results are used to define a student’s stage of spelling development and to create a student profile. The profile demonstrates which spelling features are used consistently (mastered), inconsistently, and those features that are unknown in reading and writing.  The DSA is used to monitor progress along the developmental continuum of phonics, orthography, and morphology.


Secondary English Language Arts Assessments

Virginia Standards of Learning, Grades 6-8 and 11

The Virginia English Standards of Learning (SOL) define the curriculum for each grade level. All Virginia public school students are given multiple-choice standardized tests that assess the students’ understanding of the Standards of Learning. Schools are evaluated annually using the results of these high-stakes assessments. Information about the reading and the writing tests can be found at the Virginia Department of Education’s home page.

  • Standards of Learning English: ReadingLiterature and Research Test, Grades 3-8: The SOL English: Reading/Literature and Research Test is given at grades 3-8 and in high school.
  • Standards of Learning English: Writing Test, Grades 8 and 11: The SOL English: Writing Test is given at grade 8 and End-of-Course. The writing test has a directed writing section where students respond to a prompt. The test also has a multiple-choice section where students answer questions about composition and revision, as well as questions about grammar, usage, and mechanics.
  • Standards of Learning End of Course, English 11 Reading : All items included in this test will address the knowledge and skills specified in the Reading Analysis and Research, and the Writing strands of the 2002 Virginia Standards of Learning in English for grades 9 – 11. The EOC writing test has two components: 1) a multiple-choice component and 2) a direct writing component in which students write in response to a prompt.The Virginia English Standards of Learning (SOL) define the curriculum for each grade level. All Virginia public school students are given multiple-choice standardized tests that assess the students’ understanding of the SOLs. Information about the reading and the writing tests can be found at the Virginia Department of Education’s home page.

The Reading Inventory (RI), Grades 6-12

The Reading Inventory (RI) is a research-based, computer adaptive assessment that measures reading skills and longitudinal progress.The computer software automatically monitors the response to every question and therefore “adapts” to the student’s performance. The RI assesses a student’s reading level in Lexiles, a measurement aligned with grade level performance.To learn about Lexiles, visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcrUb8pI10c

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