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Area SOL pass rates vary

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores Tuesday for public schools across the Heart of Virginia, showing a diversity of pass rates for its elementary, middle and high schools.

Dr. Cecil Snead

Schools in Buckingham saw some decreases in English and mathematics pass rates, Cumberland saw increases in approximately half of all SOL tests administered in the division and Prince Edward saw some decreases in English and science SOL tests.

In Virginia, elementary and middle schools must achieve a 75 percent pass rate on the reading and writing English component SOL tests, and a 70 percent pass rate in math, science and social studies in order to meet the established benchmarks for each test and to be accredited.

Virginia high schools must meet the same SOL benchmarks, as well as the benchmark for on-time graduation rates in order to be fully accredited.

According to the VDOE website, schools that are termed as “Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark-Pass Rate,” must have English SOL pass rates of 75 percent — with a narrow margin of 73 percent — and mathematics, science and history/social science pass rates of 70 percent with a narrow margin of 68 percent.

Schools ranked as “Partially Accredited: Improving School-Pass Rate,” must have a certain number of percentage points of improvement in SOL test scores

Dr. Amy Griffin

compared to the previous pass rate.

Buckingham County Public Schools (BCPS) saw improvements in 10 out of 28 SOL content areas administered across the division.

Buckingham County Elementary School (BCES) scores for the 2016-17 school year compared to 2015-16 school year decreased in third- and fourth-grade English reading pass rates, in mathematics pass rates and in fifth-grade science pass rates.

All BCES English reading pass rates were under 75 percent. Third- and fourth-grade mathematics pass rates were under 70 percent, while fifth-grade mathematics and science pass rates were more than 70 percent.

All Buckingham County Middle School (BCMS) English pass rates — which includes English reading in grades six through eight and eighth-grade English writing — were under 75 percent. Sixth- and eighth-grade mathematics pass rates were more than 80 percent, which showed an improvement from the 2015-16 school year, while seventh-grade pass rates were under 70 percent — a decrease from 2015-16.

All Buckingham County High School (BCHS) mathematics pass rates were more than 70 percent, but only Geometry showed an improvement from the 2015-16 school year. All BCHS science and history SOL pass rates were more than 70 percent, while English pass rates were 75 or more.

Dr. Barbara Johnson

BCES was denied accreditation in November based on the previous year’s test scores while BCHS received the status of “Fully Accredited,” and BCMS was cited as “Partially Accredited: Warned School-Pass Rate.”

“It’s customary for our system to review the data early in the summer and make plans for improvement,” said Division Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead. “Staff has continued the professional development over the summer months and will continue to hone their craft.”

Snead said the division knows that results ebb and flow each year.

“We are pleased with those benchmarks that we pass,” Snead said. “We use the information where we don’t meet the state benchmark to improve.”

Cumberland County Public Schools (CCPS) Division Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin said at the elementary school there were gains in reading and math test scores resulting from the “hard work and dedication of our students, teachers, support staff, school leadership, parents and community.”

Cumberland County Elementary School’s (CCES) English reading pass rates were less than 75 percent while third- and fourth-grade mathematics pass rates were more than 80 percent. The fifth-grade mathematics pass rate was less than 70 percent. The fifth-grade science pass rate was less than 70 percent.

Cumberland County Middle School’s (CCMS) English — which includes English reading in grades six through eight and eighth-grade English writing — pass rates were 75 percent or more, with the exception of eighth-grade reading and writing SOL tests. Only sixth-grade English reading pass rates saw an improvement from school year 2015-16 for English component SOL tests at CCMS.

Sixth-grade mathematics pass rate was more than 80 percent, an increase of 22 percentage points over the 2015-16 school year. Seventh-grade mathematics pass rates were not listed, while eighth-grade mathematics scores saw an improvement of two percentage points over the 2015-16 school year, but was still less than 70 percent. Eighth-grade science saw a pass rate of more than 70 percent.

Cumberland County High School’s (CCHS) science and mathematics tests saw more than a 70 percent pass rate, with the exception of the Algebra I SOL test — which saw a decrease from the 2015-16 school year. CCHS saw a pass rate of 75 percent for end-of-course reading SOL test, while the end-of-course writing SOL test saw a 73 percent pass rate.

“Although (CCHS) remains Fully Accredited and meets all federal academic benchmarks, there was a drop in scores in reading and math from the previous year that has been analyzed and is being addressed at all levels through work on understanding the standards, vertical alignment and engaging and building positive relationships with students,” Griffin said.

She noted that data regarding school accreditation won’t be available until September, but that the preliminary status of CCMS is to be announced.

“We have applied for the middle school to be Partially Accredited: Reconstituted due to meeting the criteria of ‘replacing the principal with a new principal that has a proven track record of success in a similar school,’” Griffin said.

CCES and CCMS were listed as “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted,” and CCHS was listed as “Fully Accredited” in November based on the previous year’s test scores.

Out of 28 SOL test content areas administered in Prince Edward County Public Schools (PECPS) overall, 10 saw improvements in scores over the 2015-16 school year.

According to a PECPS press release, Prince Edward County Elementary School (PECES) and Prince Edward County Middle School (PECMS) met all SOL benchmarks except in English, while Prince Edward County High School (PECHS) met all SOL benchmarks except in mathematics.

All English SOL pass rates for PECES and PECMS were less than 75 percent. Mathematics pass rates at PECES were less than 70 percent, with the exception of fourth-grade mathematics. The fifth-grade science SOL test pass rate was less than 70 percent. Mathematics pass rates at PECMS were less than 70 percent, with the exception of sixth-grade mathematics. Mathematics pass rates at PECHS were less than 70 percent, with the exception of Algebra II. History SOL tests at PECHS were more than 70 percent, with the exception of World History II. English pass rates for PECHS were more than 75 percent.

“We will work diligently to address the more demanding testing curriculum and we will rebound with scores that trend in a more promising direction,” PECPS Division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson said in a press release.

PECES was listed as “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted,” PECMS was listed as “Partially Accredited: Warned School-Pass Rate” and PECHS was listed as Fully Accredited in November based on the previous year’s test scores.