Chesterfield County Public Schools’ pass rates on mandated Standards of Learning tests continue to exceed or meet state averages in the “all students” category, according to 2013-14 school year testing results released by the Virginia Department of Education. Highlights from the state report also showed that Chesterfield County Public Schools demonstrated increases on mathematics tests. Students with disabilities, as well as white and black students, outperformed their state peers on every test as well.
Chesterfield County Public Schools students surpassed state averages in 28 testing categories, and were within one point of the state average on nine other tests. Mathematics pass rates increased or remained the same across the board when compared to last year’s results, while reading pass rates were relatively flat in most categories.[table “” not found /]
“Our parents have high expectations for their children, and Chesterfield County Public Schools has high expectations for all students as well,” Chesterfield County Superintendent Marcus Newsome said. “This year’s results indicate we still have opportunities for growth in preparing our students for their futures. However, SOL test scores are just one indicator of how well a child is doing in school.”
During the past three years, the Virginia Department of Education has revised SOL tests to raise standards and promote college and career readiness. This means that reading, writing, math and science SOL tests have become much more challenging. The new tests include technology-enhanced items that require students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving as well as content knowledge. SOL scores have dropped across the state during these transition years, but state leaders stress that this means Virginia is expecting more, not that students are learning less. (Information to help parents understand SOL changes is available on the Virginia Department of Education: www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/index.shtml.)
“The SOL tests that students took the past two years are so different that it is not possible to accurately compare this year’s scores to scores from several years ago,” Dr. Newsome said. “There is a balance between teaching test material and providing students access to rigorous and relevant learning experiences that will teach them the 21st century skills necessary for college and career readiness. Our school system will continue to work with the Virginia Department of Education to provide students, staff members and schools the resources necessary to succeed.”
In late July, Chesterfield principals and school division administrators held a school improvement summit focused on academic achievement, 21st-century skills, technology and core values. The curriculum and instruction team is analyzing data from the SOL tests question by question to determine areas of strength and areas that need improvement and that information will be to personalize instruction for students.
“Chesterfield County Public Schools remains committed to preparing every student for a successful future,” Dr. Newsome said. “The three big ideas in our strategic innovation plan – blended learning, project based learning and service learning – will engage our students with rigorous, relevant learning opportunities. This work with help students learn to think critically and solve problems while mastering curriculum at the same time.”
SOL reports for every school division and every school in Virginia along with information about SOL revisions is available on the website of the Virginia Department of Education: www.doe.virginia.gov.