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SOL Test Results Released: Student Data Reflects Increasing Math Achievement

(08/29/2014) -Newport News Public Schools Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores reflect gains in mathematics and slim decreases in English, history and science results.

The all-student pass rates, released by the Virginia Department of Education, show a four percent increase in division-wide mathematics pass rates, mirroring the posted gains statewide on the more rigorous assessment. NNPS students increased the mathematics pass rate from 59% in 2013 to 63% in 2014.

District-wide, English reading results dipped slightly from 64% to 63% and English writing pass rates posted a slight decrease from 65% to 63%. History and social science scores slipped one percent, from 78% to 77%. Science scores decreased from 71% to 67%.

In 2011, the Virginia Department of Education began implementing more rigorous standards in all subjects to better prepare students to meet national and international benchmarks for college and career readiness. The pass rates of Newport News students, like their counterparts across the state declined, creating a new starting point or baseline for future test results.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, recent history suggest that student pass rates on the test will rise as school districts revise their curricula and classroom instruction and students become more comfortable with the content and format of the new tests. According to Charles Pyle, director of communications for the Department of Education, The state's expectations have gone up. The bar has been raised significantly, and it's going to be a multiyear process for students and schools to meet these higher expectations.

View Sample SOL Test Question Booklet

NNPS Curriculum Supports Student Learning

Newport News Public Schools curriculum is aligned to the new SOL content, but NNPS educators go beyond teaching the minimum state standards. The NNPS curriculum combines the Standards of Learning with the district's college, career and citizen-ready skills (information literacy, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity & innovation, social responsibility, collaboration and initiative & self-direction) to better prepare students for success as learners, future employees and contributing citizens.

To assess student learning, SOLs and college, career citizen-ready skills are integrated within performance assessments or tasks that students engage in to demonstrate their understanding and application of learning goals.

Student performance on SOL tests is one measure of student achievement. NNPS students are assessed regularly using a variety of measures to demonstrate understanding and skill.

Mathematics pass rates are increasing

  • Algebra II pass rates rose significantly from 59% to 67%
  • Geometry performance increased five points from 63% to 68%
  • Performance on third-grade and fourth-grade math tests improved 11 and 13 points respectively from 49% to 60% and 60% to 73%
  • Grade five math results increased six percentage points from 56% to 62%
  • Eighth-grade math results increased one point

NNPS is Making Progress in English

  • English/reading high school end-of-course pass rates increased from 85% to 88% in one year
  • Fifth-grade English/reading scores increased by one percentage point from 58% to 59%
  • English-reading pass rates in seventh-grade increased two points from 64% to 66%
  • Grade eight English/writing scores also increased two percentage points from 57% to 60%

History/Social Sciences Results

  • Geography pass rates increased one point to 77%
  • Virginia and U.S. History rose two percentage points to 79%
  • Performance on World History II tests increased three points

Chemistry results increase while other science tests remain steady

  • Chemistry performance increased six points from 76% to 82%