Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on October 27 a significant increase in the number of Virginia schools earning accreditation in 2015. The increase is the first since 2010 when the state Board of Education took the first in a series of actions to set higher benchmarks for schools, while introducing more challenging academic standards and assessments for students.
Seventy-eight percent, or 1,414, of Virginia’s 1,823 public schools are rated as Fully Accredited for the 2015-2016 school year, based on the performance of students on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in English, mathematics, science and history during 2014-2015. This represents a 10-point improvement over 2014-2015, when only 68 percent of schools were fully accredited.
The 2014-2015 school year was the first during which students in grades 3-8 were allowed to retake SOL tests in reading, mathematics, science and history. On average, the performance of students on expedited retakes increased pass rates by about four points on each test.
The 2015 General Assembly also directed the Board of Education to revise the commonwealth’s accountability program to recognize schools close to full accreditation or making acceptable progress. On October 22, the board approved benchmarks for a series of “Partially Accredited” ratings that replace “Accredited with Warning” and other ratings under the old system.
For a school to earn full accreditation, students must achieve adjusted pass rates of at least 75 percent on English reading and writing SOL tests, and of at least 70 percent on assessments in mathematics, science and history. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation and completion. Accreditation ratings may also reflect an average of achievement over several years.
Additional information on the performance of each school and school district is available at this web link: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2015/10_oct27_gov.shtml.
Source: Governor’s Press Release, October 27, 2015
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE