Can You Say “No” to State Mandated Testing?

It’s SOL Season…Can We Just Say “NO?”
Part One in a Series

It’s SOL Season once again in PWCS; everybody get excited!  Yes, the school year’s effectively over as we turn our attention from teaching and learning to cramming for the SOLs.  Bold new concepts are out – Jefferson Lab, SOL PASS, and last year’s released SOL tests are “in” for nonstop drill & kill prior to reaching the summit of the academic year – the SOL tests!  Nowhere is this more obvious than in PWCS elementary schools.

So to get in the spirit of the season, perhaps a little elementary school quiz for parents might help.  Ready?  Here we go.

Select the correct answer for the multiple choice question and fill in the bubble next to your answer with a Number 2 pencil (no pens please, and no calculators allowed):

A.  If I decide not to permit my elementary school child to participate in mathematics SOL testing in PWCS, the following will happen:

  1. My child will receive a failing classroom grade.
  2. My child will be held back and not allowed to move on to the next grade level.
  3. My child will not be eligible for “extended math” in middle school.
  4. None of the above.  Non-participation in SOL testing has no impact on my child’s grades, academic progression, or placement.

The correct answer is 4.  None of the above

If you selected 1 through 3, don’t feel bad for you’d be in the company of the majority of parents across PW county and the state at large who feel that elementary school children must take the SOLs or dreadful things will happen.  But the truth is that non-participation in SOL testing at the elementary school level poses no negative consequences within Virginia public schools.  Surprised?  So were we.

Virginia state law requires that public school divisions administer SOL tests, but very clearly states that students in kindergarten through eighth grade are only, “Expected to take the tests.[i]”  The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) further asserts that students are, “Expected to participate,” in Virginia’s assessment system.[ii]

But what happens to children whose parents just say, “No?”   In contacting the VDOE and PWCS central administration personnel parents will learn that if one’s elementary school children are otherwise passing their grade level courses, non-participation in SOL testing has no impact on classroom grades, retention, or placement.  A “no grade” based on non‑participation in say a 3d, 4th, or 5th Grade math SOL test is simply that – not a Fail, Pass, or Pass Advanced figure; just a non-participation.

Let’s look at each of the incorrect responses in the interest of setting the record straight.

A.  My child will receive a failing classroom grade.  FALSE.

PWCS Grading Policy and Regulations prohibit the use of SOL test results in determining classroom grades per PWCS Regulation 661-1.[iii]

B.  My child will be held back and not allowed to move on to the next grade level.  FALSE.

If your child is otherwise receiving passing grades (demonstrated achievement and skills) throughout the year, a non-participation “no score” on an SOL test does not affect promotion to the next grade level.[iv]

C.  My child will not be eligible for “extended math” in middle school.  FALSE.

Non-participation in SOL testing does not preclude student placement in PWCS “extended” middle school courses.  Interestingly enough there are no state or local PWCS policies or regulations formally governing placement in “extended” middle school courses.  The customs and conventions vary from school to school in PWCS and are based largely on educator judgment and recommendation supported by a child’s achievements and parental input for those parents who elect to participate in the placement process.

So if you’re inclined to “opt out” of elementary school SOLs, the fact of the matter is that there’s no negative consequence to your child’s matriculation in PWCS.  So why then, are there growing numbers of parents just saying, “No,” to statewide testing?

Over the last few years, parents across the nation have opted not to participate in state testing in increasing numbers.  “Opting out” of state-administered assessments like the SOL has become increasingly common.  In PWCS the phenomena appears to be partly in response to substandard instructional programs.  Some local parents interviewed for this article cited PWCS’s elementary math program “Math Investigations” as reason for withdrawing students from the SOLs.  In that regard, opting out has become a protest over the county’s mandatory use of texts rejected by the VDOE.  Other parents simply don’t support the hyper-focus on nothing but SOL drill and kill from the end of April through the end of the school year.  Whatever the reason, this article’s intent is simply to set the record straight for parents – if your elementary school children don’t participate in SOL testing, bad things do not happen.

However, the same can’t be said for the school system.  Virginia public schools and divisions are “graded” if you will by student participation rates and passing rates on the SOLs.  According to the Virginia Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, schools are accredited based primarily on achievement of, among other elements, the percentage of students passing the Virginia assessment program tests (the SOLs) [v].  So when parents elect to “opt out,” schools and divisions like PWCS get very, very nervous.  Losing accreditation runs the risk of increased oversight at the state level and jeopardizes division funding.  And as much as we’d like to believe our schools are,
“All about the children,” the truth is that public education is an industry – an industry highly motivated by the stream of tax dollars that makes it all possible.   So if you’ve ever felt that somehow all the focus and pressure brought to bear on elementary school children in PWCS just didn’t add up, perhaps we’ve given you some food for thought.  PWCS’s SOL focus is driven by much more than your children’s elementary school academic achievement.  And as parents perhaps that will help in your understanding as you cram for the SOLs at home this season…or you might just consider saying, “No,” and don’t worry about it.

Authors’ note:  An in depth look at PWCS middle school and high school SOL testing and overall PWCS student standardized testing is forthcoming in subsequent Parts in this Series

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55 Responses to “Can You Say “No” to State Mandated Testing?”

  1. VirginiaParent Says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am really sick of the “d
    rill and kill” one-size-fits-all mentality of the SOL’s. It is good to see people standing up for good education.

  2. Mitch Frisco Says:

    Why are the 5 links shown all giving ‘Error’ or ‘Wrong Page’ messages? Is this legit or what?

    • mh Says:

      If they are links to any VADOE site they became inactive when the DOE changed its website to the current format and design.

  3. Debra Wade Says:

    Can someone tell me please, if the child is opted out, or has a medical exemption from sol’s , does the child still have to take the test later on?
    Does it prevent them from receiving a standard diploma ?
    My child is in the 5th grade. and homebound. reading on first grade level while in the 5th grade, and I am sure the school is worried about his scores if he takes the test, or zero if he is opted out, but he may qualify for medical exemption.. I do not want to do this IF he would have to take the test later. It would be better now while things are fresh in his mind, or IF it would effect him from receiving a standard diplomia .. I am told he qualifies for read aloud. in the sol’s ,. any suggestions??.

  4. KimS Says:

    Debra, If you’re in PWC, I’d suggest you contact the Special Ed Parent Resource Center. It’s really hard to find on the PWCS web page, so here’s a link to the SPED section of the site, including the Resource Center.

    http://specialeducation.departments.pwcs.edu/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=136227&sessionid=d525010a76e34122010f8d81d97034aa=927f890772084581ba66f574d0cd85bd&sessionid=d525010a76e34122010f8d81d97034aa%3D927f890772084581ba66f574d0cd85bd

  5. Karen Says:

    I have contact our principal in Campbell County in Central VA and asked if our son could opt out of SOLs. He contacted the county testing administrator and she said there are no exceptions, that each child will be given the test. I said I would keep my child at home and was told he will be tested the next day he shows up to school. The only way to keep him out of being tested, would be to completely miss the last two weeks of school.

    Any suggestions on how to proceed?

    • Pwcedreform Says:

      Karen. I need to update the links to the state regulations and will do so on Monday. From what I’ve been told by VA DOE officials, the school must test every child, but parents have the right to refuse to allow their child tobe tested. It will count as a zero on their scores as there is nolace for not tested. I’ll get the updated links to you on Monday.

    • T.M.R. Says:

      Karen,
      I am a parent in PWCS; we have routinely withdrawn our son from SOL testing (mathematics) from 4th grade through 7th grade in protest over the county’s dumbed down mathematics curriculum. We simply informed the school, in writing, that he would not be present for SOL testing and that we prohibited him from participating in make-up testing. As the article above states, there is no provision to “Opt Out” of testing but they can’t force your child to be tested. The article’s still accurate though the link to the updated VA Standards of Accreditation link is now: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/boe/accreditation/index.shtml
      (SOA is link in the middle of the page). I’d recommend writing a letter – informing the school of your decision and stating that your child is not to be tested. I would also ask the school to confirm, in writing, that the school leadership will require you to withdraw your child from school for the remainder of the school year should you not permit him to be tested. Virginia law does not require you to withdraw your child from school should he not test. Also recommend you check your Cambell County Schools Policies and Regulations to see if they allow children to be “force tested” – I doubt that to be the case. If you’d like to leave a contact e-mail or number I can contact you off-blog. I’m the primary author of the above article.

    • rgb Says:

      Karen,
      The Campbell County Public Schools Policies, Rules, Regulations, and Procedures for 2012 (http://www.campbell.k12.va.us/index.aspx?page=108) state,
      “The classroom teacher shall be responsible for the grading and evaluation of his/her students’ achievement in class and will make the determination as to whether or not a student passes a given class. Parents will be notified if their child is in danger of failing for the year. A student who fails to receive a passing grade in one or more subjects is referred to the promotion/retention committee. The committee may perform a full analysis of the student’s permanent record, including SOL test results, grades earned for all classes during the current year, and teacher comments and recommendations. The committee may recommend to the principal that the student be retained or promoted or considered for summer school. The principal makes the final decision. Parents will be notified of the student’s promotion/retention status at the end of the school year.”

      Provided your children are receiving passing grades in the classroom, whether or not they take the SOL has no bearing on their promotion, retention, or classroom placement in elementary school. For middle school and high school SOL participation is required by VA law for the associated high school level courses (e.g. Algebra 1, Geometry, Chemistry, etc.) to receive graduation credit for the exams. VA law permits the consideration of SOL scores in determining grades for these such high school courses; commonly for many VA school divisions if your student passes the SOL the schools do not require participation in the final exam for one of the named courses.

      If you’ve been told that they will test your child come hell or high water – or that you must withdraw your child from school to preclude their testing him without your consent – then realize that Virginia law does not support your school’s position. There is no implication for non-participation in SOL testing for any elementary school or middle couirse (language arts, history, science, mathematics); your school however is hopeful that their stern warnings will discourage you from withdrawing your children from such testing as it impacts the school administration (but not the student). They are simply counting on your being intimidated enough not to press the issue and force them to show you the policy and regulation supporting their position…because it doesn’t exist.

      Don’t forget that you are the customer (and funding source) for your public schools and have rights associated with your tax dollars. Stick to your guns and best of luck!

  6. leticia Says:

    I’m thrilled to be reading this and like so many share the same feelings. My daughter is in all honors classes and getting all A’s and B’s but recently the SOL quizzes have begun and her overall grade has been dropping in all her courses. They are grading her overall class grade against the SOL quiz grade. Is this allowed? I’m stressed, she’s stressed and we don’t understand or know where we stand. Pls provide me with some insight.

    • rgb Says:

      Classroom quizzes (that happen to be in preparation for the SOL) may indeed count for classroom grades. The SOL TEST itself does not count for classroom grades or advancement (elementary and middle school). A little more information would be helpful; it’s not really clear if you’re talking about the actual SOL TESST or something else. Let us know and we’ll help if able. One thing you might do is call the school and get clarification from your daughter’s teacher or the school administration. But barring that, give us a little more info to research for you.

      • leticia Says:

        Thank you, yes the quizzes are for preparation for the SOL. I was not aware they could count against her overall class grade. As unfortunate as it is to see the grade she’s receiving when all yr long she has been at the top of her game. But, I will definitely speak to the school because I have heard if they fail the test they are required to take summer school for that class.

      • rgb Says:

        Leticia,
        I’m guessing your daughter is a high school student. For high school-level courses, the state of Virgina requires students to pass SOL tests to receive what they call “verified credits” which are credits towards earning a high school diploma in the state of Virginia. There’s an excellent webpage on the Virginia Department of Education website that does a good job of explaining the “verified credits” issue and other frequently asked questions regarding high school graduation requirements. The link is: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/graduation/faq.shtml

        Each year there are many children who receive a passing grade in high school courses but for one reason or another do not pass the corresponding SOL test. Depending on how close their score is to “passing” they may actually do an expedited “SOL retest” within the same school year rather than waiting until the next year’s test period to pass the SOL. The web link FAQs state, “Students who score between 375-399 on a test are eligible for an expedited retake and may retake a test before the next scheduled test administration.”

        Hope this helps!

  7. Mary Says:

    Warning: If you want to send your child to an IB program in the City of Richmond, SOL scores are part of the determining factors for placement.

    • rgb Says:

      Mary,
      I couldn’t find policy nor regulatory reference to this requirement on the City of Richmond Public Schools website. Can you point me – and other interested readers – in the right direction for the specifics? Thanks

      • Mary Boyes Says:

        I just went through my files to see if I had documentation of this. I have nothing in writing but I was explicitly told, by guidance counselors, that students are INVITED to apply to IB based on a combination of grades and SOL scores. This, mind you, is only the invitation element. Students who are in SPACE (the elementary gifted and talented program) are automatically invited to apply regardless of SOL scores but sitting out might change things. My post is not sour grapes. My child was invited and was accepted into this program, but the process is opaque. The “official” stance on how one gets into the program can be found here: http://web.richmond.k12.va.us/lbms/Learning/IBProgramme/HowtoApply.aspx. This is a vague formula and the exact rubric for scoring is not made public nor are your child’s scores. Essentially, there is no way of verifying if RPS’s assessment of your child is fair. It was intimated to me, as I was considering keeping my child home during testing, that if you sit out, you are shut out. I thought people should know.

      • rgb Says:

        Mary,
        The beauty of public schools is the requirement for public disclosure. Unwritten policies and practices don’t float in Virginia public schools divisions. Each and every one of these is governed by state law, and local school division policy and regulation. Often however the first response by schools administrators and program coordinators is to simply make things up on the fly or try to implement selection criteria outside the realm of official policy and regulation to make sure the “right kind” of children are filtered into a program and the “wrong kind” are filtered out. If the process is “opaque” it’s probably because it’s not being done in accordance with approved policy and regulation, and And more often than not parents resign themselves to accepting bold assertions on part of the schools and go no further.

        If SOLs were required for admittance, then Richmond City Schools would by default refuse to admit qualified students who transfer into the system from out of state (and have never taken an SOL test). So my recommendation for interested parents would be to ask to be shown the written policy, regulation, and procedures approved for admission into gifted/advanced/elective programs.

        I have to disagree with Kim in part – we withdrew our son from math SOLs from 4th through 6th grade in PWCS yet he was placed in the extended/advanced mathematics programs in middle school nonetheless. So even here in PWCS there’s a lot of “making it up on the fly” activities amongst the educrats in our school system

      • Mary Boyes Says:

        All good points, Kim and RGB. Still, I think these ad hoc procedures definitely deter people from opting out.

      • pwceducationreform Says:

        I totally agree with your comment on January 10, Mary. I think these admission policies do deter people from pulling their children from state testing. I know the policies deterred me, and I’m not a shrinking violet.

    • KimS Says:

      Hi Mary! The policy you describe is similar the the policy Prince William County uses for admission to extended courses in middle school (which will enable students to be on track to take Calculus and AP level courses in High School). Any student who is admitted into the counties gifted program is automatically invited to participate in extended courses in middle school (assuming they pass the SOL exams). Students who are not in the gifted programs must qualify based on a combination of grades, teacher recommendations, and SOL scores, with SOL pass rates providing the primary “filter”.

      If you choose not to have your child tested on the SOL, they will get a 0 as their score and will not be selected for admission into these programs. If you make the choice not allow your child to be tested, you have to be proactive and aggressive in ensuring that your child is afforded the opportunity to enroll in extended courses or IB / AP level courses. Every school division has to have some mechanism for evaluating students’ who arrive from homeschool environments or other school divisions where SOL scores are not available. You have to push your school division to allow your child to be evaluated by those standards.

  8. SpEd tchr and Mom Says:

    Here in Pittsylvania County…..what can I do?? =) Just….not take him on the test dates? I’m a teacher though-will I be pooping in my own cornflakes, so to speak?

    • SpEd tchr and Mom Says:

      Talking about a third grader by the way.

    • pwceducationreform Says:

      Just my opinion, but as a teacher in the school division, refusing to allow your child to be tested on the SOL would very much be pooping in your cornflakes. I’m not much of a fan of cornflakes, so pooping in them might be something I’d consider. But if you like your cornflakes…..

  9. rgb Says:

    SpEd Tchr-

    Pittsylvania Public Schools conveniently lists the applicable local policy/regulations regarding SOL testing on the division website: http://www.pcs.va.us/policy/i/contents.htm

    The 4 applicable policies are: Standards of Learning and Grading Requirements, Grading System, Promotion and Retention, and Testing Programs.

    In the SOL Tests Policy (3rd Paragraph) the policy states, “In kindergarten through eighth grade, where SOL tests are required by the Board of Education, each student is expected to take the SOL Tests. Schools will use the SOL tests in kindergarten through eighth grade as part of a set of multiple criteria for determining the promotion or retention of students.” The 1st sentence is consistent with the language of the state law. K-8 students are “expected to take the SOL tests.” But state law does not compel or require students to take tests for K-8. SOL tests only have an impact on End of Course “verified credits” required to obtain a VA high school diploma. End of Course SOL tests are for named Courses like Algebra, Geometry, etc.

    The larger question is what, if any, impact withdrawing a K-8 student from a non- End of Course SOL (ex: grade 3,4, 5, or 6 math SOL)?

    Again The PCS policies specify that, “Academic achievement shall be the primary consideration in determining the promotion or retention of a student.” And , “Results on SOL tests will be a factor in determining the promotion or retention of students.”

    So, what’ s the take on this in PCS? Given that the policies also state, “Satisfactory achievement is considered ‘ C’ or ‘ S’,” and, “Retention should considered for students not passing the designated SOL tests at the designated grade levels.” Here is my advice for PCS parents. If your child is indeed demonstrating satisfactory achievement in classes, the schools will be unlikely to retain a student who has performed well throughout the school year simply for parents’ withdrawing them from sedimentary school or non- DOC SOL test. To do so would be a deliberate act to use an SOL test as a punitive measure. If your school does tell you hour otherwise successful student Will be retained for non-participation in an SOL test, have them put it in writing… I doubt they’ ‘ll want to do that as it would surely invite a legal engagement.

    Hope this helps!

    rgb

  10. rgb Says:

    Sorry, typing fast w/o proofreading above…
    Should read, “If your child is indeed demonstrating satisfactory achievement in classes, the schools will be unlikely to retain a student who has performed well throughout the school year simply for parents’ withdrawing them from elementary school or non- EOC SOL test.”

    rgb

  11. LMS Says:

    Hi. My daughter is profoundly autistic and non-verbal. She is in an adapted 2nd grade class with other autistic children who are near her level of functioning. The focus of her instruction is working on giving her a means of communication that she’ll use consistently (progress is slow but we’re working on it), life skills (like self care), and teaching functional (potentially future vocational) skills. I would like to have her exempted from the SOL tests. She does not have the cognitive ability to understand the material being tested on nor the communication skill to give any answers. To have her “tested” would be a waste of absolutely everybody’s time and would take time away from the instruction she receives that will actually be of use to her in her life. What do you recommend?

  12. Kim Says:

    My son has a current IEP and has always had the accommodation to take the SOL’s paper/pencil in elementary school. Now he is in middle school and they are refusing to allow that accommodation. Can I opt him out of SOL’s without it hurting his advancing to the next grade. He is currently in Signet and extended math how would that play out in 7th grade if he doesn’t take the SOL’s in 6th grade?

    • pwceducationreform Says:

      If his IEP says he needs to take the SOLs with paper and pencil, then the school should be following his IEP but I’m not an expert on special ed and IEPs. If you’re in PWC I’d suggest contacting either Alyson Satterwhite, school board memeber from Gainesville, or Lisa Bell, school board member from Neabsco. They are the two school board members who I believe are best versed in IEP type issues and your sons legal rights.

      If you don’t live in PWC then I’d suggest meeting with your child’s team and discussing this, including demanding that they explain why they won’t allow him to take the SOL with paper and pencil as that’s what his IEP stipulates.

  13. Tamara Says:

    This is all wonderful news to me. I would love to free my children from the useless SOL’s. So I simply need to do is write a letter stating that my children are to be exempted from taking the SOL’s? I have a 4th grader and an 8th grader.

    • rgb Says:

      Tamara,
      Tamara – What Virginia school district are you in, PWCS? Before you contact your school Board member, I would recommend you first start with the school. If your son’s IEP has a specified accommodation for paper and pencil SOL testing, then he should be accommodated. If your school is telling you they will not comply with the IEP have them put that in writing to inform you formally. A lot of times parents are “told” things that are inconsistent with school division policy and regulations (or in your case perhaps IEP stipulations) because 9 times out of 10 parents will simply suck it up and defer to what they are “told.” It’s much easier for a school to administer SOLs on the computer than to accommodate children with pencil and paper, so it’s not surprising that they would tell you they “can’t” do it. But once you have this in writing from the school it gives you a formal instrument to take the complaint up to the next level. If indeed your son’s IEP specifies accommodations like pencil and paper testing, they really don’t have a leg to stand on. And again, if you are in PWCS and the SOLs in question are not high school level couses for which SOL pass is required for verified credit, then simply tell the school (in writing), that you are withdrawing your son from SOL testing this year.

      • Tamara Says:

        My apologies, I was brief in my message. My son doesn’t have an IEP. I just want to simply exempt my children from the SOL’s. They both have stated numerous times that they cause great distress to them. I am in PWCS county. I don’t think they are necessary and eventually mean nothing in the greater scheme of their overall education. Hope that makes sense. I didn’t know until this morning that they didn’t have to take them.

      • rgb Says:

        Tamara,
        If you elect not to have your kids participate in (PWCS) SOLs (other than High School verified credit-required courses), be aware that you will have to take the initiative with the school. If you simply ask about “opting out” you will rightfully be told that, “There is no provision in the law, local policy, or local regulations for parents to “opt their children out” of elementary (and middle school) SOLs. This statement is true. So you have to be prepared to ask, “OK, I understand, but what are the consequences if I withdraw my children from the SOLs? If your children are otherwise passing their classes and doing well, there should be no negative ramifications. We withdrew our son from PWCS mathematics SOL testing from 4th through 7th grade SOLs and he was in PWCS MS extended math for the whole time…so withdrawing has no negative impact.

      • pwceducationreform Says:

        Greg – I think you mixed Tamara and Kim up. Kim is the Mom with the child with and IEP. Tamara just commented today.

        Tamara – like Greg said, in PWCS only high school students are required to take the SOL.

  14. Fluvanna Teacher Says:

    What are the impacts to the classroom teachers of the students who opt out? I ask because I am the mother of a third grader who I desperately don’t want to take these tests. I’m also a third grade teacher. I know that as a whole in my county, the teacher is evaluated based primarily on test scores. The average of the class. If a bunch of the top tier students refuse to test, the class average will be altered in a negative way. Will that zero that the refusal brings also be counted into the class/school average?

    • pwceducationreform Says:

      If you’re in Virginia then you can have your class reports prepared with the opt out students excluded from the data sets. Last year Dr Wright sent out a letter directing school divisions to code opt out students a particular way so that their refusal to be tested wouldn’t affect the participation numbers or averages. The same sort can, and should, be used when calibrating scores for a teacher so that refusal to be tested students are excluded for the calculation.

      • Fluvanna Teacher Says:

        Thank you. I was wondering because during the back and forth battle we’ve been having with our school level administration over my son taking the 7 Spring district computer tests in preparation for the SOLS (IA and MAP), we were also told that the refusal to take the SOL test would be marked as a “FAIL” for the school and county. I know that it won’t negatively impact my son but was given the impression that it WOULD negatively impact the county. I’m a mother first and will still refuse the test for my son, but I’m starting to get some “professional” heat based on my now very public views against testing. (They are “concerned” that it will negatively impact the drill and kill expectations that set for me in my classroom and that other parents will think I’m representing the county’s position on testing by being vocal.)

      • pwceducationreform Says:

        It will not be given a FAIL, and your county administration should be aware of this. The stet Superintendent provided specific guidance on the scoring of refused tests last year. They get a zero and a code that indicates refused testing. They DO NOT get a FAIL.

    • rgb Says:

      A refusal to test is a “no score” or (did not test) annotation. That’s different than a “0” (zero) numerical score. the above response from pwceducation reform is correct. I’m researching the Fluvanna Public Schools Board policies since you bring up an interesting case: current teacher in the system who’s planning on withdrawing your daughter. Should have a consolidated opinion back to you by end of the week.
      Cheers

      • Fluvanna Teacher Says:

        This is interesting. My son didn’t take the above mentioned sol tests and received a “fail” for each one. It came back as a “fail” for the school and an individual “fail” for each of the four subjects he was supposed to test in.

      • pwceducationreform Says:

        That may violate the procedure Dr Wright asked school districts to follow.

      • Fluvanna Teacher Says:

        I’m having a difficult time finding the superintendent’s memo on this topic. Could you direct me to it so I could possibly share it with my administrators? Thanks so much!

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  16. Rosetta Pierce Says:

    At 6:45pm on April 1st at the Potomac Public Library, myself and another teacher will panel a discussion on current SOL status at Belmont Elementary School, Woodbridge, VA. After doing research and reading this site, I decided to pull my son from all his 5th grade SOLs this year. Hoping to encourage other parents to pull their children out of all SOL testing this year as well. We have uploaded info to inform parents of current SOL situation on our PTA website: http://belmontpta-va.weebly.com/ and other social media sites.

    Any additional assistance that you can provide to our parents will be greatly appreciated.

    Rosetta Pierce
    Parent of two Belmont Elementary School students
    President of Belmont Elementary School PTA

  17. Mandi Says:

    My daughter will be starting 7th grade this coming September. She does wells in all of her classes and almost all of her SOL tests. She has not done so well on the math SOL this year and 5th grade, but she has a B average in her math class and has not fallen below a C for her Math 6 class.. When she does not pass the math SOL she is penalized by being put into a “SOL Lab”. All they do in this lab is any homework or school work they may have. This wouldn’t be a bad idea if they didn’t take away one of her elective classes. Is there anything I can do to have it so she does not lose her elective and not have to take this not needed SOL Lab? She gets really frustrated and stressed out when it comes to SOL time, especially math SOL. She didn’t have to take the science SOL because she is in advanced science.

  18. RGB Says:

    Mandi,
    A couple of suggestions. First, do you think your daughter would benefit from the “SOL Lab?” If so, it might not be a bad thing, but that’s your call as a parent. Second, call and arrange to meet with your school’s principal and see what can be done. It may be that your school’s leadership is actually trying to help your daughter. That’s something you’ll have to find out on your own, so it’ll take some of your time to engage your school. In the end if you’re convinced this isn’t a good thing for your daughter, you will need to research your district’s policies and regulations to determine what options you have. Those will tell you whether or not “SOL Lab” is a required course or one for which parents have the choice to not participate. If you like, tell us what Virginia School District you’re in, and we’ll do a little research for you.

    Cheers

  19. RGB Says:

    Mandi,
    From the Virginia Beach City Public Schools website (http://www.vbschools.com) you can access the Middle School Handbook at: http://www.vbschools.com/handbook/middle/

    Your VBCPS Middle School Handbook describes the Academic Support Program as, “The Academic Support Program is designed to respond to the needs of students who have demonstrated a deficiency in the area of English/Language Arts or mathematics. Students must be enrolled in this course if they scored between 375-399 on the English or mathematics SOL test the previous year. In addition, students who earn a nine weeks grade below a 70 in any core course must be removed from an elective course to participate in Academic Support. Additional information regarding this program may be obtained by contacting the school’s School Improvement Specialist.”

    So that’s the basis for the program. We’d recommend you engage with your daughter’s school to get a better understanding of whether or not this program will best support your daughter’s academic achievement. And please let us know what you find out.
    Cheers

  20. Best psychologist NoVa Says:

    I can do to have it so she does not lose her elective and not have to take this not needed SOL Lab? She gets really frustrated and stressed out when it comes to SOL time, especially math SOL. She didn’t have to take the science SOL because she is in advanced science. thanks for sharing this awesome information..

  21. donna sloman Says:

    So…if high school ESL students cannot pass the SOLs, but they are passing their classes, can their parents write a letter to have them opt out of the tests and still graduate?

  22. concernedteacher Says:

    If you go to the VDOE website, there are other tests that can be substituted for SOLs for verified credits. http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/substitute_tests/substitute_tests_verified_credit_2014-15.pdf. Now, this doesn’t really help some of the lower functioning students, but for those students who are already taking these tests for college credit–there is no need for them to take the SOLS

  23. TRANGR WHITAKER Says:

    I’m against Sol testing. It’s messed up how these kids have to pass a SOL to graduate from high school.When they have worked so hard to graduate. When I was in high my senior year I found out days before graduation I couldn’t graduate because I didn’t pass the Literacy Passport Test. I think it’s unfair you have to take a state test to graduate. These kids work so hard to graduate high and to let one state wide test stop you from graduation. We as parents and (or) former students of Prince William County Public Schools need to get together & put an end to this SOL TESTING.

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