• New State Accreditation Process

    Taken directly from the Virginia Department of Education's Website

     

    Impact on Schools

    School Accountability

    The revised SOA provides a more comprehensive view of school quality and expands accountability beyond pass rates on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests and high school graduation and completion. Under the revised standards:

    • Schools receive credit for students who are making progress in English and/or mathematics and are on a trajectory towards reaching proficiency. By recognizing growth, the revised accreditation standards provide a fairer evaluation of schools serving at-risk students. Under the previous accreditation system, these schools were subject to being perceived as “failing” even if most students were making progress toward proficiency.
    • Schools receive credit for English-language learners making progress towards English proficiency.
    • Schools are evaluated on their success in narrowing achievement gaps in English and mathematics. Under the previous accreditation system, high overall performance could mask underperformance of certain student groups.
    • Schools are evaluated on their success in reducing absenteeism and lowering dropout rates.
    • High schools — effective in 2021-2022 — will be expected to meet goals for increasing participation and achievement in advanced programs, career and technical education, and service learning.

    School-Quality Indicators

    The revised standards measure performance on multiple school-quality indicators, not just on overall student achievement on state tests.

    Elementary and middle schools are evaluated on the following indicators under the new accountability system:

    • Overall proficiency and growth in English reading/writing achievement (including progress of English learners toward English-language proficiency)
    • Overall proficiency and growth in mathematics
    • Overall proficiency in science
    • English achievement gaps among student groups
    • Mathematics achievement gaps among student groups
    • Absenteeism

    High schools are evaluated on the following school-quality indicators under the new SOA:

    • Overall proficiency in English reading/writing and progress of English learners toward English-language proficiency
    • Overall proficiency in mathematics
    • Overall proficiency in science
    • English achievement gaps
    • Mathematics achievement gaps
    • Graduation and Completion Index
    • Dropout rate
    • Absenteeism
    • College, career and civic readiness (effective 2021-2022)

    Performance on each school-quality indicator is rated at one of three levels: Level 1 (meets or exceeds the state standard for the indicator or adequate improvement), Level 2 (near the standard or making sufficient progress) or Level 3 (below the standard).

    The revised SOA prescribes that all schools and divisions — after conducting a comprehensive needs assessment — develop a multi-year plan that will be reviewed annually. The plan should include actions for all performance levels to support continuous improvement for all schools on each school-quality indicator.

    Depending on the level of the indicator, the following actions are required:

    • Level 1 — Continue to monitor data associated with the indicator and review multi-year plan.
    • Level 2 — Revise multi-year improvement plan and implement revisions to improve performance on the indicator.
    • Level 3 — Implement a corrective action plan to improve performance on the indicator following an academic review (or other appropriate review) conducted by the Virginia Department of Education.

    English & Mathematics Indicators

    When possible, school-quality indicators for English and mathematics express proficiency and growth through a combined rate that provides equal credit for students who passed SOL tests in the content area and for students who didn’t pass but improved compared with prior performance.

    For mathematics:

    • The combined rate for math for elementary and middle schools includes students who passed SOL tests in math and students who didn’t pass but showed growth.
    • Math indicators for high schools are based on the percentage of students passing SOL tests in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. 
      Sample School Quality Indicator for Mathematics in Elementary and Middle Schools: Sample School Quality Indicator for Mathematics in Elementary and Middle Schools.Ten 10 students take assessments and the results are that six students pass and four students fail. Of the four students that fail, three students show growth and one doesn't show growth. To determine the combined rate: Add together the number of students who passed (which is six) and the number of students who showed growth (which is three) for a total of nine. Then divide nine by the total number of test takers (which is 10). That calculation yields a combined rate of 90 percent.

    For English:

    • The combined rate for English for elementary and middle schools includes students who passed SOL tests in reading or writing and students who didn’t pass but showed growth, including English learners who made progress toward English proficiency.
    • The combined rate for English for high schools includes students who pass SOL tests in reading or writing and English learners who made progress toward English proficiency.
      Sample School Quality Indicator for English in Elementary and Middle Schools: Sample School Quality Indicator for English in Elementary and Middle Schools. Ten students take assessments and the results are that six students pass and four students fail. Of the four students that fail, two students show growth; one English Learner shows progress toward proficiency in English, and one doesn't show growth. To determine the combined rate: Add together the number of students who passed (which is six) and the number of students who showed growth (which is two) and the number of English Learners who showed progress for a total of nine. Then divide nine by the total number of test takers (which is 10). That calculation yields a combined rate of 90 percent.
      Chart with sample School Quality Indicator for English in High Schools: Sample School Quality Indicator for English in High Schools.Ten students take assessments and the results are that six students pass and four students fail. Of the four students that fail, three English Learners show progress toward proficiency in English. To determine the combined rate: Add together the number of students who passed (which is six) and the number of English Learners who showed progress (which is three) for a total of nine. Then divide nine by the total number of test takers (which is 10). That calculation yields a combined rate of 90 percent.

    School Accreditation Ratings

    The revised SOA simplifies the commonwealth’s accountability system by reducing the number of overall accreditation ratings that schools may earn.

    Under the new system, schools earn one of the following three ratings:

    • Accredited — Schools with all school-quality indicators at either Level 1 or Level 2
    • Accredited with Conditions — Schools with one or more school-quality indicators at Level 3
    • Accreditation Denied — Schools that fail to adopt or fully implement required corrective actions to address Level 3 school-quality indicators
      A school rated as Accreditation Denied may regain state accreditation by demonstrating to the Board of Education that it is fully implementing all required corrective action plans.
      Chart with Example of East Middle School Accreditation Determination: Example of East Middle School. For category of Achievement of All Students, the combined English rate is Level 2, the combined mathematics rate is Level 1 and the pass rate for science is Level 1. For the category of Achievement Gaps, English is Level 2 and mathematics is Level 2. For the category of Student Engagement, chronic absenteeism is Leve 1. Because this school has only Level 1 and Level 2 determinations, the school is rated as Accredited.
      Chart with Example of Accreditation Determination for West High School: Example of West High School. For category of Achievement of All Students, the combined English rate is Level 1, the pass rate for mathematics rate is Level 1 and the pass rate for science is Level 1. For the category of Achievement Gaps, English is Level 2 and mathematics is Level 3. For the category of Student Engagement, chronic absenteeism is Level 2. Because this school has at least one Level 3 determination, the school is rated as Accredited with Conditions.

    Impact on Students

    Requirements for Graduation

    The revised regulations reduce the number of SOL tests students must pass to earn a high school diploma — while maintaining high expectations for learning in English, math, science and history/social science — and implement the “Profile of a Virginia Graduate,” a set of skills and attributes identified by employers and higher education as critical for success in the workplace and in college.

    These expectations are often referred to as the “5 C’s”: creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship.

    The new graduation requirements place increased emphasis on the practical application of learned skills and content knowledge by expanding the use of performance-based assessments for the awarding of verified credits.

    In addition, the career-planning component of the new graduation requirements provides the opportunity for students to learn about employment options aligned with their interests in their own communities and elsewhere.

    While there is no specific activity that a student must experience (such as an internship, job-shadowing assignment or participation in a career fair) to graduate, school divisions are required to collaborate with local employers to create opportunities for students to learn about the workplace expectations, regardless of their plans after high school.

    School divisions also must ensure that students understand and demonstrate civic responsibility and community engagement.

    Key points for students and parents to remember about how Virginia’s diploma standards are changing include the following:

    • The new graduation requirements are effective with students entering the ninth grade in the fall of 2018 (class of 2022).
    • Under the new requirements, the number of required standard credits for a Standard Diploma remains the same (22) but the number of required verified credits is reduced from six to five (one each in English reading, English writing, mathematics, science and history/social science).
    • Under the new requirements, the number standard credits required for an Advanced Studies Diploma remains the same (26) but the number of required verified credits is reduced from nine to five (one each in English reading, English writing, mathematics, science and history/social science).
    • School divisions, on a local-option basis, may offer an authentic performance-based assessment as an alternative to the English writing SOL test for the awarding of verified credit.
    • In history/social science, students may earn the required verified credit by passing an authentic performance-based assessment rather than an SOL test.
      Chart showing requirements to earn a Standard Diploma for the Class of 2022: Requirements to earn a Standard Diploma for the Class of 2022: English requires four standard units of credit and two verified credits; Mathematics requires three standards units of credit and one verified credit; Science requires three standard units of credit and one verified credit; History/Social Science requires three stnadard units of credit and one verified credit; Health and Physical Education requires two standard units of credit; World Language, Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education requires two standard units of credit; Economics requires 1 standard unit of credit; and Electives require three standard units of credit. The total is 22 standard units of credit and five verified credits.
      Chart showing requirements to eacn an Advanced Studies Diploma for the Class of 2022: Requirements to earn an Advanced Studies Diploma for the Class of 2022: English requires four standard units of credit and two verified credits; Mathematics requires four standards units of credit and one verified credit; Science requires four standard units of credit and one verified credit; History/Social Science requires four standard units of credit and one verified credit; Health and Physical Education requires two standard units of credit; World Language requires three standard units of credit; Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education requires one standard unis of credit; Economics requires 1 standard unit of credit; and Electives require four standard units of credit. The total is 26 standard units of credit and five verified credits.