APS, State SOL Results Reflect National Trends
Results Set Baseline for Recovery
Today, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released the 2020-21 Standards of Learning (SOL) test results which reflect the extraordinary circumstances faced by students and schools last year and establish a baseline for recovery from the pandemic.
APS SOL results followed nationwide trends, and pass rates reflect disruptions to instruction caused by the pandemic, decreased participation in state assessment programs, pandemic-related declines in enrollment, fewer retakes, and more flexible “opt-out” provisions for parents concerned about community spread of COVID-19.
“We recognize that the last school year was an unprecedented situation and a different educational environment for our students in many ways, and that came through in the SOL results,” said Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán. “The data shows us where we need to focus our attention to best support our students in the upcoming school year. Our educators are ready to help our students succeed and will continue to do what’s best for them as we return to the classroom.”
Statewide, participation in SOL testing during 2020-21 was down significantly in all subject areas compared with pre-pandemic participation in 2018-19. For example, only 75.5% of students in tested grades took reading tests last year, and only 78.7% took math tests, compared with 99% in both subjects in 2018-19.
Significantly fewer students retook SOL tests during last year due to the waiver of state accreditation for 2021-22, and the flexibility for students granted by the Board of Education in its emergency guidelines for the awarding of verified credits for graduation. Given the wide variability in participation and modalities, comparison of APS students’ scores with neighboring divisions scores is discouraged.
While SOL scores are down in every category nationwide, APS students did well in several areas. Reading End-of-Course (11th Grade) results rose from 84% in 2018-19 to 86% in 2021. The pass rate for English Learners (EL) was 88% percent in 2021 compared to non-EL counterparts pass rate of 89%. APS students also participated in Performance Based Assessments (PBAs) in Reading 8, World Geography 8, VA Studies 4, and Civics and Economics 7 in lieu of SOL tests in these subjects in 2021. PBAs allow for a more authentic measurement of students’ learning and help instructional leaders have a growth measure of students’ acquisition of literacy and social science skills both within grade levels and across grade levels.
“SOL results are one of many data points that teachers and school leaders will use to help guide instruction this school year,” said Dr. Durán. “We will be conducting assessments at the start of the school year to evaluate individual student needs, and target resources and interventions to support and accelerate their learning.”
Data on the performance of students who participated in SOL testing during 2020-2021 — including pass rates for schools and school divisions — is available on the VDOE website and on VDOE’s School Quality Profile reports for schools, divisions and the commonwealth. Additional information is available on BoardDocs.