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Newport News students progress on all SOL tests

(08/16/2016) -Newport News Public Schools Standards of Learning (SOL) tests scores show steady progress in all subject areas during the 2015-2016 school year. Results released by the Virginia Department of Education today reveal increased achievement division-wide.

Newport News educators implemented a revised curriculum, new achievement goals and advancement plans in 2011 after the Virginia Department of Education began implementing more rigorous standards and tests in all subjects to better prepare students to meet national and international benchmarks for college and career readiness.

"I am pleased that our students continue to make progress on the SOL tests, which are challenging students to apply what they learn. I am proud of the work and the expertise of our staff who continue to open doors for our students," said Dr. Ashby Kilgore, superintendent of schools. "NNPS students will continue to make progress as they prepare for college, careers, and citizenship."

Mathematics results

The overall performance of students on SOL mathematics tests increased by one percentage point, mirroring the state increase. The mathematics pass rate increased from 71% to 72% when comparing 2015-2016 results to the previous year. Student performance in mathematics has improved by 15 percentage points since the 2011-2012 school year when the revised mathematics standards were first assessed.

Overall Mathematics

The largest division-wide gain in math is in Algebra II performance, which improved by 14 percentage points over 2014-2015, increasing from 77% to 91%. The increase is a two percentage point increase over the state average pass rate for Algebra II.

The math performance of NNPS students improved or remained steady in five mathematics courses when compared to the previous year. NNPS students achieved pass rates of 70% or higher on six SOL assessments (grade 4 math, grade 5 math, grade 6 math, Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II). Since 2011-2012, student results have improved in all mathematics courses.

SOL performance

English/Reading Results

Performance on English/reading tests improved one percentage point when compared to the prior year and five percentage points from 2012-2013, when more challenging English/reading and writing SOL tests were introduced by the Virginia Department of Education.

Overall Reading

NNPS students continued to improve performance on grades 3, 5, 6, and high school end-of-course reading tests. Grade 5 results improved by seven percentage points from 2014-2015 with grades 3, 6, and high school end-of-course results increasing by two percentage points over the 2014-2015 school year.

SOL performance

English/Writing Results

Overall, student performance on English/writing tests improved by two percentage points when compared to the prior year, and by six percentage points when compared to the 2012-2013 school year.

Overall Writing

NNPS students had a slight decrease of one percentage point on the grade 8 writing test, while the high school end-of-course writing test increased by four percentage points.

Science Results

Division-wide performance in science improved by two percentage points from 2014-2015 to 76%. Division-wide student performance in science has improved by five percentage points since the 2010 standards were first assessed during the 2012-2013 school year.

Science performance increased for grades 5 and 8 and in biology and chemistry during the 2015-2016 school year. The earth science pass rate remained steady at 78%.

NNPS students achieved pass rates of 74% or higher on four science SOL assessments (grade 5, biology, chemistry and earth science tests). Overall, science improved by five percentage points since the 2010 science standards were first assessed in 2012-2013.

SOL performance

History/Social Science Results

NNPS overall student performance in history/social science improved by one percentage point to 82% when compared to the 2014-2015 school year.

Students earned a pass rate of 78% and higher on all history/social science tests during the 2015-2016 school year. Since the 2011-2012 school year when the revised standards were first tested, division-wide performance has increased by five percentage points.

SOL performance

NNPS is Committed to Advancing Student Achievement

Newport News Public Schools' academic action plan focuses on increasing literacy and math skills, and giving students more learning time.

At the elementary level, an additional 2.5 hours a week of targeted instruction for students is provided through the use of a daily intervention/enrichment block at all schools. Interventionists provide intensive instruction in reading and mathematics for students in need of additional academic support and teacher coaches are focusing on developing teachers in mathematics and content integration.

In elementary and middle school, students may participate in numerous extended learning opportunities including Saturday academies, afterschool learning programs and SPARK, the Summer Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge.

At all grade levels, the written curriculum for teachers has been simplified. Common, computer-based assessments are utilized to assist teachers with monitoring student progress. And students will work cooperatively with teachers to create success plans that set performance goals which will be reviewed quarterly.

NNPS' Curriculum Supports Student Learning

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

To assess student learning, SOLs and college, career and 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 achievement. NNPS students are assessed regularly using a variety of measures to determine and encourage understanding and skill.