Student achievement on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests during 2016-2017 was relatively unchanged compared with performance during the previous school year, according to statistics released by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) last week.
Statewide, 80 percent of students achieved proficient or advanced scores in reading, and 79 percent passed tests in mathematics, compared with 80 percent in both subjects in 2015-2016. Eighty-two percent passed grade-level or end-of-course SOL tests in science, compared with 83 percent previously.
Student achievement in English writing improved by two points statewide, with 79 percent passing compared with 77 percent during 2015-2016. Overall achievement in history/social science was unchanged, with 86 percent of students passing SOL tests in the subject.
In Botetourt, 88 percent of students passed the reading SOLs and 84 percent passed the writing SOLs. In mathematics, 89 percent of Botetourt students passed the SOLs. The reading pass rate has been the same the past three years and the mathematics pass rate was 1 percent point lower than last year, and the same as in 2014-15.
In Botetourt, 89 percent of students passed the science performance SOLs, also the same as last year, and 92 percent passed the history and social sciences SOLs, also the same as last year.
“Students continue to perform at substantially higher levels on the commonwealth’s rigorous assessments in mathematics, English and science than when these tests were first introduced in 2012 and 2013,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said in the DOE announcement. “This long-term, upward trend is far more important than a snapshot for a single year and reflects the hard work of thousands of teachers, principals and other educators and their dedication to helping students meet high expectations.”
Some of the highest pass rates in English, mathematics, science and history/social science were on the end-of-course tests high school students must pass to earn credit toward graduation, with statewide results as follows:
- 87 percent passed the end-of-course reading test and 84 percent passed the high school writing assessment;
- 82 percent passed the Algebra I test, 78 percent passed the Geometry test and 90 percent passed the Algebra II test; and
- 82 percent passed the Earth Science and Biology assessments and 89 percent passed the Chemistry test.
- 83 percent passed in Geography, 85 percent in World History I, 87 percent in World History II and 86 percent in Virginia and U.S. History.
Fourth graders, sixth graders and eighth graders all improved in reading, as follows:
- 79 percent of fourth graders achieved proficient or advanced scores in reading, a two-point improvement compared with 2015-2016;
- 78 percent of sixth graders earned proficient or advanced scores in reading, a one-point gain compared with 2015-2016; and
- 76 percent of eighth-graders achieved proficient or advanced scores in reading, a one-point gain compared with 2015-16.
Of the 1,805 open public schools with reportable test results, 680 improved in mathematics, 800 in reading and 411 improved in both subjects.
Black students achieved a one-point gain in overall reading achievement, with 67 percent passing. Larger gains were made by black students on five specific grade-level SOL reading tests. Botetourt also saw a similar trend.
While overall black achievement in math dropped one point to 66 percent statewide, the performance of black students on the both grade-6 and grade-8 math tests improved by one point, to 70 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
Statewide, achievement of Hispanic students in reading was unchanged, with 71 percent passing, but the performance of Hispanic students did improve in three grades.
Overall Hispanic performance in mathematics also dropped one point to 71 percent but Hispanic students did achieve a one-point gain in Algebra I with 75 percent passing the SOL test for the course.