Superintendent’s Memo #025-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

January 27, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Passing Scores Adopted by the Board of Education for the New End-of-Course Mathematics Tests Based on the 2009 Standards of Learning

On January 12, 2012, the Virginia Board of Education adopted passing scores for the new end-of-course (EOC) mathematics tests that measure the 2009 Standards of Learning (SOL).  New “cut scores,” which are expressed in the number of items a student must answer correctly to achieve a certain level of proficiency, were adopted for the achievement levels of pass/proficient (Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II), pass/advanced (Algebra I and Geometry) and advanced/college path (Algebra II).  A student obtaining the proficiency level of advanced/college path on the Algebra II test should have the necessary knowledge and skills for enrollment, without remediation, in an introductory credit-bearing college mathematics course with Algebra II as the highest prerequisite.  Students who achieve an advanced/college path score during their high school career are expected to take additional mathematics courses beyond Algebra II as they continue to prepare for college.

The passing scores for each of the new end-of-course tests are shown below:

Test Pass/Proficient Pass/Advanced
Algebra I 25 45
Geometry 25 44
  Pass/Proficient Advanced/College Path
Algebra II 27 43

These cut scores have been communicated to Pearson, Virginia’s testing contractor, so that the work necessary to implement these cut scores and report the results of the new end-of-course mathematics tests administered in fall 2011 can begin.  Student level results for the new mathematics tests administered in fall 2011 should be available no later than mid-February 2012. It is important to remember that the cut scores listed above apply only to the test form that was reviewed by the standard setting committee.  Other forms of the end-of-course mathematics tests will be statistically equated to the “standard setting” test form to ensure that the same level of achievement is required of all students taking a test for a particular course.  As a result of the equating process, the number of items a student is required to answer correctly for a particular level may fluctuate slightly.

In addition, please note that these passing scores are applicable only to the new mathematics tests that measure the full implementation of the 2009 mathematics content standards.  Students who took a mathematics course before fall 2011 and who are now retaking the associated end-of-course test for verified credit will continue to take tests that measure the 2001 mathematics standards.  The cut scores on these tests are unaffected by the Board’s action.

If you have questions, please contact the student assessment staff at or (804) 225-2102.