While scores vary among individual schools, pass rates on Standards of Learning tests in Dickenson County as a division surpassed state rates in every content category but one.
The division showed the biggest gain in math pass rates but a whopping drop in history performance.
On new mathematics tests introduced during 2018-2019, Dickenson County had an 89 percent pass rate, up 6 percentage points over last year and 7 percentage point over two years ago. Statewide, 82 percent passed the new mathematics tests, compared with 77 percent last year.
Locally and statewide, overall pass rates in history/social science dropped although by more in the county than in the state.
Just 77 percent of Dickenson County students taking the tests passed the history SOLs, down from 88 percent last year and 89 percent in 2016-17. This is the only subject in which county students underperformed against the state.
Statewide, 80 percent of students tested in history/social science passed, compared with 84 percent in 2017-2018.
Science scores dipped as well although they were still ahead of the state.
The division’s pass rate in science was 84 percent, down 3 percentage points over last year and 6 percentage points over two years ago.
The state pass rate on science SOLs was just 81 percent, unchanged from the previous year.
Dickenson County showed slight gains in the remaining two tests — reading and writing — and was above state pass rates in both areas.
In reading, 83 percent of Dickenson County students tested passed, up 2 percentage points over last year and 3 percentage points over two years ago. Statewide, 78 percent of students taking reading tests passed, compared with 79 percent during 2017-2018.
In writing, 83 percent of Dickenson County students tested passed, up 2 percentage points over last year but still below the 84 percent pass rate two years ago.
Statewide, the 76 percent writing pass rate was down from 78 percent the previous year.
VDOE will announce school accreditation ratings for the 2019-2020 school year in September, although the division has already crunched number and predicts full accreditation of all schools.
Accreditation ratings reflect achievement in English, mathematics and science; student growth toward proficiency in reading and mathematics; progress toward closing achievement gaps in English and mathematics; and other school quality indicators.
In its announcement last week, the Virginia Department of Education noted that the test results reflect changes in student test-taking patterns last year caused by revisions to the commonwealth’s diploma and school accountability standards, and the introduction of new mathematics tests in all grade levels.
Revisions to the Standards of Accreditation that were approved by the state Board of Education in 2017 and became effective last year reduced the number of SOL tests high school students must pass in order to graduate. Under the revised regulations, students who meet the testing requirement in a content area do not have to take another test in the subject unless additional testing is required for the school to comply with federal testing requirements. Previously, high school students continued to take end-of-course tests even if they had already earned the credits in the content area necessary to graduate.
The 2018-2019 school year also saw the introduction of new math SOL tests reflecting revisions to the state mathematics standards approved by the state Board of Education in 2016. The introduction of the new tests marked the end of the three-year transition to the revised standards.
“The achievement in a school, a division or in the commonwealth as a whole must be viewed in the context of these changes in student test-taking patterns, standards and assessments,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “These changes were significant and performance on last year’s SOL tests marks the beginning of new trend lines in mathematics, science and history.”
Additional information on the performance of students on SOL tests during 2018-2019 — including pass rates for schools and school divisions — is available on the VDOE website and on the online School Quality Profiles.