Suffolk sees SOL gains

Published 10:06 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Suffolk students edged up in achievement on standardized tests in most subject areas during the 2016-2017 school year, according to results released Tuesday by the Virginia Department of Education.

Division-wide, Suffolk students improved one or two percentage points in reading, writing, social sciences and math. The division’s pass rate declined only one percentage point in science, its only decrease. The results mimicked statewide rates.

Those rates were mirrored in most subgroups across the division.

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The results mean two more schools, Forest Glen Middle School and Nansemond Parkway Elementary School, are likely to move into full accreditation, Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney said Tuesday afternoon.

“Overall, I think we’ve seen some improvements,” Whitney said. “I think we’re moving in the right direction. It’s exciting to see schools moving out of partially accredited to accredited and moving out of denied to partial accreditation.”

Whitney said Elephant’s Fork Elementary School is likely to move toward being partially accredited. In addition, King’s Fork Middle School “did not quite make full accreditation, but it’s very close, so we may be able to appeal that to the state,” Whitney said.

Whitney said he was pleased to see improvements in areas where the division had focused a lot of effort.

“In elementary, we really focused on reading and English and saw increases in English division-wide,” he said. “I’m glad to see where we kind of focused our attention paid off.”

While the division met the benchmark overall in science, “quite naturally, we’re going to be focusing on that,” Whitney said.

The superintendent credited the increases to the division’s teachers.

“Our teachers’ and instructional staff’s hard work has certainly paid off,” he said.

Elementary and middle schools are fully accredited when they achieve a 75-percent pass rate for English and 70 percent for social science, science and math. High schools have the same requirement in addition to a graduation rate requirement.

Schools that miss full accreditation must submit a school improvement plan to the state. The school also receives technical support from the state.

“We have some things to celebrate about, but we also still have to roll our sleeves up and continue the hard work we’re doing,” Whitney said.

Subject            2016 pass rate            2017 pass rate

Reading           75                                  77

Writing            72                                  74

Social science 81                                  83

Math                77                                  78

Science            80                                 79