Board hears positive SOL report

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 14, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

In Thursday night’s meeting of Suffolk Public Schools Board, Dr. Lynn E. Cross, assistant superintendent, reported that Virginia’s Standards of Learning are working for students of Lakeland and Nansemond River High Schools.

Notably, of the 604 seniors seeking standard diplomas from Lakeland and Nansemond River high schools, 530 or 88 percent have verified the credits for their diplomas. The remaining 74 students, or 12 percent, need to verify from one to four credits, Cross said.

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The report took into consideration the students who entered the 9th grade in 2000-2001, the first students to graduate under the SOL requirements.

As Cross pointed out, the results of spring testing in geometry, and the English writing tests were not available at this time because they have not been returned by the state. However, the superintendent said she was proud of the report she was providing to the board.

&uot;Of the 130 seniors who are anticipated not to graduate with a high school diploma at this time, only 22 lack the required number of verified credits,&uot; she said. &uot;That is only three percent who are anticipated not to graduate due to a lack of verified credits only.&uot;

She also pointed out that students must have 22 required credits to graduate, and that 78 students lacked that number. Another 30 students lack both the required number of credits and the required number of verified credits.

&uot;That makes 15 percent who are not anticipated to graduate in June due to a lack of the number of required standard credits,&uot; said Cross. &uot;Last year, 14 percent of the seniors did not graduate due to a lack of required credits in June. Some of them did, however, go on to summer school and they did earn their diplomas.&uot;

She said that although some seniors are lacking sufficient credits, they will be eligible to retest three more times before graduation in June. Students who retested will also have the opportunity to apply to receive locally awarded verified credit.

&uot;That opportunity is available to students who have passed the SOL course in a history/social science or science course, have taken the SOL assessment at least twice and scored between 375 and 399 and have received tutoring in the SOL content before retesting,&uot; she added.

The Virginia SOL, a comprehensive student assessment program, was implemented to measure whether students are being taught and are mastering the material contained in the new standards for grades three, five and eight – subjects are English, history, math and science – as well as end-of-course exams in specific high school content areas.

This year marked the first in which students must pass the SOL tests to graduate.

Under the SOL guidelines, high school seniors must pass the reading and writing tests and four other exams of their choosing, or four tests on a list of acceptable substitutes. Starting in 2007, test credits will have to be spread across the curriculum.