Standards of Learning (SOL) & Testing
Updated Information Related to State Funding Allocation for Information Technology Industry Certifications and Related Testing Preparation Resources for School Year (SY) 2015-2016 – see Superintendent’s Memo 068-16
All Standards of Learning (SOL) Tests Transitioning to TestNav 8 Test Delivery Software beginning in Fall 2016 – see Superintendent’s Memo 048-16
Implementation of a shorter, online grade 3 mathematics test in computer adaptive format beginning in spring 2016 – see Superintendent’s Memo 002-16
Implementation of computer adaptive testing for grades 7 and 8 mathematics in 2015-2016 – see Superintendents Memo 173-15.
Mathematics SOL & Curriculum Framework Review – March 2015, the Virginia Board of Education was authorized to proceed with the review and revision process of the Mathematics Standards of Learning and Mathematics Standards of Learning Curriculum Framework. For more information, see Superintendent's Memo 071-15.
The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science and other subjects.
SOL tests in reading, writing, mathematics, science and history/social science measure the success of students in meeting the Board of Education’s expectations for learning and achievement. All items on SOL tests are reviewed by Virginia classroom teachers for accuracy and fairness and teachers also assist the state Board of Education in setting proficiency standards for the tests.
- Frequently Asked Questions about SOL Testing (PDF) – Includes information on reduction in the number of tests, computer adaptive testing and other changes in the state assessment system
Innovation in Student Assessment
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is a national leader in the use of technology to develop and administer the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Virginia’s school divisions have been administering online tests to students for over a decade. The most recent innovations include a new test delivery system, a computer adaptive format for some mathematics tests, and the use of technology-enhanced items in history SOL tests.
In order to expand the types of devices that can be used for administering online SOL tests, all SOL tests will be delivered in a newer version of the test delivery system, TestNav 8, during the 2016-2017 school year. Beginning with the fall 2016 test administration, all end-of-course (EOC) SOL tests and all tests typically administered in grades 6 - 8 will be delivered in TestNav 8. Beginning with the spring 2017 test administration, all SOL tests typically administered in grades 3 - 5 will be delivered via TestNav 8.
As part of the continuing effort to provide students with the best possible testing experience, Virginia will be adding computer adaptive testing (CAT) to the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessment Program in grades 3, 7, and 8 mathematics during the 2015-2016 school year. Virginia began offering computer adaptive testing for grade 6 mathematics in fall 2015.
Technology-enhanced items require students to indicate their responses in ways other than a multiple-choice format. Beginning with the spring 2016 test administration, online history tests will contain field-test TEI. The current online tests for mathematics, science, reading, and writing have already successfully implemented TEI.
Introduction of New Test Delivery Software: TestNav 8
VDOE has been working to expand the types of devices approved for use in the administration of online SOL tests. By transitioning to a new version of test delivery software, TestNav 8, Virginia school divisions will gain the flexibility of administering online SOL tests on a wider variety of devices, including touch-screen devices. The TestNav 8 software, via a custom application, allows tests to be administered securely on additional devices, while continuing to support the use of traditional Microsoft Windows-based and Mac OS-based workstations.
The following SOL tests will be administered via TestNav 8 in fall 2016: Grades 6 through 8 Mathematics, Grades 6 through 8 Reading, Grade 8 Writing, Grade 8 Science, and Civics & Economics, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, EOC Reading, EOC Writing, World History & Geography to 1500, World History & Geography to 1500-Present, World Geography, and Virginia & U.S. History.
The following SOL tests will be administered via TestNav 8 in spring 2017: Grades 3 through 8 Mathematics, Grades 3 through 8 Reading, Grade 8 Writing, Grades 5 and 8 Science, Civics and Economics, Virginia Studies and all EOC tests (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, EOC Reading, EOC Writing, World History & Geography to 1500, World History & Geography to 1500-Present, World Geography, and Virginia & U.S. History.
It is important to note that during the 2015-2016 school year, all online SOL tests will continue to be administered in the existing TestNav 7 delivery system.
To help prepare school divisions, the existing SOL practice item sets are currently being converted into TestNav 8. Grades 3 through 5 practice item sets are now available, with other grade level/content areas becoming available within the coming months. These practice items serve as an introduction to the new online navigation, online tools, item formatting, and overall functionality and appearance of TestNav 8.
Computer Adaptive Testing
A computer adaptive test (CAT) is an assessment that is customized for every student based on how the student responds to the test questions. During the 2015-2016 school year, most students who take the online grade 3 mathematics test and online grades 6 through 8 mathematics tests will be administered a computer adaptive version of the Standards of Learning (SOL) test. Watch the videos to learn how computer adaptive testing provides students with a customized assessment experience.
|A Guide to Computer Adaptive Testing – This video explains the basic principle for how computer adaptive testing works.||Computer Adaptive Testing in Virginia – This video provides information about computer adaptive testing in Virginia.|
Today’s online SOL assessments challenge students to apply what they have learned in ways not possible with traditional multiple-choice tests. Reading, writing, mathematics, and science assessments include “technology enhanced” items that require students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, much as they do in response to classroom assignments from teachers. Online history tests will contain field-test TEI (which do not count towards a student’s score) during the spring 2016 test administration.
Beyond Multiple Choice: Teachers Discuss Virginia’s New Mathematics Standards – Educators and VDOE on the new standards and assessments.
Technology-enhanced demonstration – Narrated demonstration of examples of items appearing on the 2012 Mathematics SOL tests.