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The Standards of Learning (SOL) Assessments are designed to measure student achievement and ability in mathematics, science, history/social science and English. Students take the SOL Assessments in Mathematics and English in grades 3-8 and the SOL Assessments in science and history in grades 3, 5 and 8. Certain high school courses also administer an end of year SOL Assessment to measure student achievement in that course.
The assessment is based on the Standards of Learning curriculum objectives designed by the Virginia Department of Education. The Standards of Learning offer objectives for teaching and learning for each course at each grade level. The Standards of Learning are also designed to match national objectives and best practices. All students are expected to participate in the assessment in Virginia schools unless they are granted an exemption. Students with disabilities receive testing accommodations per their educational plan.
The grades 3-8 reading and mathematics assessments ask questions in a multiple-choice format covering reading comprehension and vocabulary development. The grade 8 Writing Assessment covers questions about sentence structure and writing development in a multiple-choice format. There is also a writing prompt that requires an essay response.
The high school level end of course exams in Mathematics are in a multiple-choice format. The English End-of-Course examination covers questions about sentence structure and writing development in a multiple-choice format. There is also a writing prompt requiring an essay response by the student.
The Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments are scored on a scale of 0 to 600, a student needs to score at least 400 to pass the assessment. A score of 500 or above indicates that a student performed at an advanced level.
The Assessments at the high school level must be passed as a part of graduation requirements. The tests may be retaken and accommodations are offered to students with disabilities.