Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SOL Assessment Reform

SOL Assessment Reform

On Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on Education Reform met at 7:30a.m. in the Capitol. The Chair of the committee, Delegate Tag Greason convened the subcommittee to hear all eleven SOL assessment reform bills. The bills were divided into four topics: expedited retakes, data revision and release, reducing the number of assessments, and substituting industry certifications for SOL assessments. No action was taken on any of the bills, but the subcommittee heard testimony on each topic. Del. Greason has requested that the patrons develop, over the next week, a single bill that will serve as the vehicle for SOL reform.

In his opening remarks Delegate Greason outlined his priorities for SOL reform. They include:

1) A reduction in the number of tests from 34 to 25 or 26. This will allow school divisions to give teachers additional flexibility and increase time for instruction. He did emphasize that even if an assessment is removed, that will not deemphasize instruction for that course.

2) Improving the quality of the tests to shift from multiple choice to more critical thinking, problem solving and real application of knowledge.

3) Implementing authentic assessments to replace our current SOL assessments. This will allow school divisions to accurately measure student growth.

VSBA will continue to work with Delegate Greason and all the members of the Education Reform subcommittee.