Divisions have a variety of state and federally-mandated assessments that must be given throughout the school year. You may download the resource, 23-24 Division Testing by Grade Level, for a general listing of division assessments. Please note this listing does not denote all assessments that students may participate in across the division. The sections below provide greater detail regarding these state and federally-mandated assessments.
Standards of Learning(SOL)
In Virginia, students enrolled in public schools participate in the state assessment program. Standards of Learning tests are administered to students in grades 3-8 and for select high school courses. Generally, these tests are given online. Any student who is administered a paper test must have a documented need. In grades 3-8, sol administration occurs in the spring. At the high school level, students can be tested in the fall, spring, and summer.
3rd Grade-Reading, Math
4th Grade-Reading, Math, Virginia Studies
5th Grade-Reading with Writing Component, Math, Science
6th Grade-Reading, Math
7th Grade- Reading, Math
8th Grade-Reading with Writing Component, Math, Science, Civics
Reading with Writing Component, EOC Writing
Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II
Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry
World History I, World History II, VA & US History
General Assembly legislation in 2021 dictated the creation and implementation of “through-year” growth assessments in reading and math for students in grades 3-8. These computer-adaptive growth assessments are created from Standards of Learning test items. They are administered in fall and winter providing crucial information to teachers and staff. Please download the FAQ document to learn more about this assessment. For more information on student growth assessments, visit the Parent and Caregiver Resources for Growth Assessments page on the Virginia Department of Education website.
Title One Notification
On December 10, 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) was signed into law. Section 1112(e)(2) of ESSA states that parents of students in Title I schools have a right to know about state or division policies regarding student participation in any assessments mandated by ESSA, including any policy, procedure, or parental right to opt students out of such assessments.
All students enrolled in Virginia public schools are expected to take the applicable state tests. The Virginia Board of Education Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia state:
“In kindergarten through eighth grade, where the administration of Virginia Assessment Program tests is required by the board, each student shall be expected to take the tests following instruction.” and “each student in middle and secondary schools shall take all applicable end-of-course SOL tests following course instruction” (8VAC20-131-30).
The Virginia regulations do not provide for what is sometimes referred to as an “opt out policy” for students regarding the Virginia assessments. If parents refuse to have their student participate in one or more of the required Virginia assessments, they should be aware that their student’s state assessment score report will reflect a score of “0” for any test that is refused. Please download the Title One letter, if you would like to have a copy of this required notification.
Virginia Alternative Assessment Program (VAAP)
The Virginia Alternate Assessment Program is a test designed to evaluate the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities. Like with the Standards of Learning program, students are tested yearly in grades 3-8 in math and reading and one time in high school.. Additionally, students are administered a science test once while in elementary, middle, and high school. The VAAP assessment can be administered online, with paper, or using a combination of each. For history and writing, students complete a collection of evidence based upon the VESOL standards. The collection of evidence consists of student work samples for each reporting category in a content area. Students in grade four complete a collection of evidence for history while students in grade eight must complete the collection of evidence for history and writing. For more information on VAAP, please access the FAQ document produced by the Virginia Department of Education.
Local Alternative Assessments (LAA)
Legislation in the 2014 General Assembly amended the Code of Virginia to eliminate the following state-developed SOL tests and replace them with locally developed alternative assessments:
Grade 3 History,
Grade 3 Science,
Grade 5 Writing,
United States History to 1865, and
United States History: 1865 to the Present.
Students in these grades and courses complete performance-based and traditional common assessments to fulfill this requirement. A performance-based assessment is defined as an authentic task where students create a product which is scored with a rubric. Each division must utilize Virginia Department of Education-created rubrics for scoring. Whether in science or history, the rubrics consist of multiple criteria where the student work is typically evaluated on a scale from one to four. The local alternative assessment requirement for writing five (5) is fulfilled by the new integrated reading and writing assessment component that is being added to he grade five (5) Standards of Learning Reading test in the spring of 2024. To fulfill this requirement, students who participate in the Virginia Alternative Assessment Program complete a collection of evidence based upon the Aligned Standards of Learning in the same grades and content areas.
Virginia Literacy Partnerships is the name for the organization that manages the administration
of the state-mandated literacy screeners. The Virginia Language & Literacy Screener (VALLS)
is the revised assessment tool used with three and four-year-old preschool students. The
Phonological Awareness Literacy Screener, more commonly known as PALS, is utilized with
students in kindergarten through grade three. Students in these grades are screened in the fall,
winter, and spring.
The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program is the companion to the literacy screeners for
students in preschool and kindergarten. It consists of two parts: the EMAS and CBRS. The
Early Mathematics Assessment System (EMAS) measures a student’s mathematical ability
while the Child Behavioral Rating Scale (CBRS is a checklist that assesses self-regulation and
social skills. This screener is given in the fall and spring.
Multilingual students who are classified as English Language Learners are required to be assessed each year to monitor their yearly progress. The WIDA Consortium’s Access for ELLs 2.0 assessments evaluates a student’s proficiency in the domains of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These assessments are administered once yearly in the second semester. Students in grades 2-12 take the test online while kindergarten and first grade students are administered the assessment on paper.