Virginia Legislature debates dropping SOL standards

The phrase 100 percent’ can have many different meanings.  It can signify true success, or a goal for everyone to strive towards.  However, in the case with the Virginia Standards of Learning, subschool 11 Principal Scot Turner Turner said, perfection has been a contentious issue,

According to the No Child Left Behind policy, by 2014, with regards to standardized testing, Virginia must have a hundred percent pass rate for both writing and math.

“What we’re really looking at for the SOL’s is quality insurance,” Assistant Principal Michael Mukai said.  “How can you insure that every classroom in America is getting a quality education, without going to every classroom?”

Mukai said Virginia, along with 38 other states, are currently applying for a Federal waiver [the waiver is an option for states’ to help lower the standards for the policy] to the rule.  For the waiver to be granted, the state in question must have a system in place to help the students who did not perform as well.

“We have to make sure there are policies in place so that students who didn’t pass the SOL can be helped,” Mukai said.  “The point of the SOL is to ensure that every student is getting a proper education, and is learning the material presented.”

Principal Dan Meier said the concern with the SOL’s having such a high standard was that it shows validity that a student learned what they were taught, but it is also hard to guarantee that a school will have a 100 percent pass rate.

Schools have to find a balance between both issues that school’s are currently dealing with regards to the new policy, Turner said.

“There are two different issues that we are currently dealing with: integrity and what is the tool we are trying to measure students by,” Turner said.  “it’s difficult to judge a passing school by one test; you have to look at the body of work.”

 Principal Dan Meier said the intent of the NLCB [need to find what this is] was good, but the overall implementation of it is uncertain.

“School’s need to account for student achievement, but we need to update the measures by which we are holding accountability,” Meier said.  “We need to be able to adapt and update these measures by which we are measuring school performance by from time to time.”

Meier said the SOL’s are basically measuring what students have learned throughout the school year.

“One of the benefits of the SOL’s have been that courses have generally been standardized around the country,” Meier said.  “It’s made courses uniform throughout, because teachers have to make their curriculum around what’s going to be on that specific SOL.”