Area Schools Struggle To Make The Grade

Published 4:59 pm Thursday, September 26, 2013

This has been a tough year for public schools across the state as they struggled to meet both state and federal accountability objectives, the majority of which are based on student pass rates for the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.

While 93 percent of Virginia’s public schools were rated as fully accredited last year, only 77 percent were fully accredited this year. The Virginia Department of Education explains the drop in accreditation “as a consequence of the introduction of rigorous new reading, writing and science Standards of Learning (SOL) tests during 2012-2013, as well as a second year of results from more challenging mathematics assessments.”

Area schools were not immune to the drop in accreditation. This year, less than half of the area schools were fully accredited by the state, while, last year, all public schools in Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties were fully accredited, with the exception of the newly opened Buckingham Primary and Elementary schools. (Those two schools were conditionally accredited simply because they were considered new schools, following the consolidation of four Buckingham schools, and not because of their SOL pass rates.)

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On the federal level, Annual Measurable Objectives continue to be a struggle for area schools. Last year, only two area schools met all federal objectives. This year, only one school, Buckingham Middle School, met all objectives. State wide, only 43 percent of all schools met all federal Annual Measurable Objectives.

In the chart to the left, the school listed in the green light met all state and federal accountability standards, schools in the yellow light missed either or both state and federal standards and, lastly, schools in the red light were found to be in the bottom 10 percent for the entire state, receiving the designation of either Focus or Priority School.

Results are also available online at