Superintendent’s Memo #105-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 20, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Change in Media Provided with Paper/Pencil Standards of Learning (SOL) Audio Tests

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) provides audio versions of the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests to students with an audio accommodation specified in their Individualized Education Programs, 504 Plans, or Limited English Proficient Student Assessment Participation Plans. Currently, a paper/pencil SOL test with an audio accommodation is administered by using a recorded version of the test provided on audio cassette tape with the associated test booklet and answer document.  Recognizing that audio cassette players are increasingly difficult for school divisions to acquire and maintain, VDOE sought feedback from division directors of testing (DDOT) in spring 2010, spring 2011, and most recently in February 2012, regarding a potential transition from audio cassette tapes to audio compact discs (CDs) for administering paper/pencil SOL audio tests.

Based on the feedback received, VDOE will discontinue the use of audio cassette tapes for paper/pencil audio tests after the completion of the Summer 2012 SOL Non-Writing Test Administration. Beginning with the Fall 2012 SOL Writing and Non-Writing Test Administrations, students who require an audio accommodation on paper/pencil SOL tests will be provided with audio CDs of the recorded tests. In the event a school still requires audio cassette tapes, the DDOT will be able to order cassette tapes for test administrations during the 2012-2013 school year.

If you have questions regarding the change in audio media format, please contact student assessment staff via e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 225-2102.