School districts address slump in SOL test scores

Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

by Jackie Nunnery

LANCASTER—When the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released Standards of Learning (SOL) scores two weeks ago, officials suggested the lower pass rates reflected disruptions to instruction due to the pandemic, declining enrollments due to the pandemic, fewer students opting to take the test due to concerns about COVID-19, and fewer retakes.

The VDOE stated that while in a typical year 99% of students will take the exams, in 2021 just 76% took the reading, 79% took the math, and 80% took the science exam. The results were similar in Northumberland County where 71% took an SOL test last year. The percentage was not available for Lancaster County.

Virginia superintendent of public instruction James Lane said, “Last year was not a normal school year for students and teachers, so making comparison with prior years would be inappropriate.”

With that in mind, the numbers do illustrate the challenges faced by extended periods of virtual learning and the continual adjustments….

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