Proposed amendments to the state’s Standards of Accreditation for public schools were published in the Virginia Register of Regulations earlier this month; the public comment period is open until October 6. The proposed amendments implement the changes to high school graduation requirements envisioned in the “Profile of a Virginia Graduate,” which the Board of Education was directed to develop by legislation enacted in 2016.
Under this new approach, students would focus on core academic skills in the early years of high school and undertake more intensive career or college preparation as they approach graduation. The number of verified credits (typically attained by passing a standardized test) required for graduation would be reduced, and alternative performance assessment options would be permitted. Career planning would begin in middle school; the proposed regulations would require middle school students to complete a career investigation course and to develop an academic and career plan.
The proposed amendments also make changes to the process for school accreditation by adding several school quality indicators on which schools would be rated, including chronic absenteeism and academic achievement gaps. Schools would be rated on each indicator and could attain accreditation by meeting benchmarks or by demonstrating a certain level of improvement over the previous year’s performance.
Public comments on the proposed regulations are being accepted on Virginia’s Town Hall website.