High school may see full accreditation

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Prince Edward County High School could be on its way to receiving full accreditation based on recent Standards of Learning (SOL) test results.

According to a press release from the school division, “Prince Edward High School, which fell just short of the three-year average in reading last year, is expected to be fully accredited when the State Board of Education releases accreditation ratings in the coming weeks.”

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According to department of education spokesman Charles Pyle, “VDOE [Virginia Department of Education] will issue accreditation ratings for schools on Oct. 27. The state board of education has adopted revisions to the accreditation standards and will establish benchmarks for the new ratings on Oct. 22. The department will release ratings for 2015-2016 once the benchmarks are set,” Pyle said.

According to VDOE, English, mathematics, science and history/social science were the four categories in which students received SOL testing. Based on this information, students in grades three to twelve must receive a 75 percent pass rate in English in order to be fully accredited. On the other hand, these same students need to fulfill a 70 percent pass rate in mathematics, science and history/social science.

According the school’s release, “the school division showed improvement on 21 of 29 tests administered last year.”

Dr. David Smith, the division’s superintendent said, “I am pleased with the increases in scores, especially mathematics. There are some areas that we’ll focus on for continual improvement, and I am very appreciative of the hard work that our teachers and students and administrators have put into making these improvements in student achievement.”

According to the release, “Prince Edward Elementary surpassed the state benchmark of 70 percent pass rate, scoring 77 percent. Scores also achieved the 70 percent pass rate at the middle school, registering improvement at the fifth, seventh and eighth grades. High school math scores were also above the state’s 70 percent benchmark, averaging 77 percent.”

While there was an increase in English scores, students at the elementary and middle school levels showed difficulty in obtaining the state’s minimum benchmark.

The release said students only reached 65 percent at the elementary school level in English in spite of the required 75 percent state benchmark for accreditation. The middle school came in at 66 percent while the high school fulfilled the state benchmark with 76 percent and a three-year average of 81 percent.

Russell Dove, the chairman of the Prince Edward School Board, said in the release that he was pleased with the improvements, noting that work was needed in the areas where accreditation benchmarks were not met.