April 28, 2017

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Update on the Implementation of Local Alternative Assessments

On October 27, 2016, the Virginia Board of Education adopted the Local Alternative Assessment Guidelines for 2016-2017 through 2018-2019 as communicated in Superintendent’s Memo #284-16.  As the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) prepares to strengthen its resources and support for innovative practices in our school divisions, this memo addresses the elements of the guidelines as they relate to performance-based assessments. The VDOE plans to assist in further implementation of performance-based assessments while supporting the changes in instructional methodologies that are required to connect learning to real-world experiences.  These resources and training will be beneficial as school divisions engage in innovative work that will provide relevant opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the curriculum in areas of removed Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments as well as other content areas.

Virginia Department of Education – Performance-based Assessment


What:  Supporting the Journey

VDOE will:

When: Timeline 2017-2020

Summer 2017

2017-2018 School Year
Summer 2018
Summer 2019 and Summer 2020          

Data Collection

In response to questions regarding the documentation of local alternative assessments, all school divisions should continue to document the teaching and assessment of standards in the five removed SOL assessment areas. In summer 2017, the VDOE review process will consist of collecting sample assessments that come from the work supported by the VDOE regional Alternative Assessment Assistance Incentive Grants (Superintendent’s Memo 292-14). Collection during the 2017-2018 school year will be focused on the areas of the five removed SOL assessments. Points of contact for the regional grants have been notified and will work within their region to collect and submit assessments and associated materials. During the 2017-2018 school year, samples and feedback will be posted as models to help school divisions in reaching the “USE” and “ACCOUNT” stages on the Virginia Framework for Local Alternative Assessment Implementation.

Future communications regarding this initiative will be forthcoming from Kim P. Dockery, Performance Assessment Coordinator, Virginia Department of Education. For additional information please see the Local Alternative Assessment page or contact Kim P. Dockery at Kim.Dockery@doe.virginia.gov.