Important Update about Benchmark Testing and Exams

Posted: January 23, 2021

Technical difficulties with Newport News Public Schools' Student Information System have temporarily reduced the district's capability to administer large-scale testing. The system is up and capable of supporting a reduced number of concurrently administered tests while the Technology Department works to fully restore the system.

Due to these technical issues, Newport News Public Schools has canceled elementary and middle school benchmark testing and has made all high school course exams optional for the first semester.

Elementary School Students

  • While benchmark testing is canceled, diagnostic testing scheduled for February will be held as planned. Diagnostic testing will be used to help teachers monitor student progress and growth and guide intervention efforts.

Middle and High School Students

  • Newport News Public schools is adopting a hold-harmless approach to exams for students taking high school credit-bearing courses (including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses). Exams will not be required. Students who wish to take an exam to improve their final first semester grade may do so at the time scheduled by their school. Students who were unable to complete their 6th period exams (scheduled for Friday, January 22), due to the technical difficulties with StudentVUE, will be able to take the exam at a rescheduled time designated by their high school.

  • If a student opts to take the exam, the exam grade will not be averaged into the student's final first semester grade if the exam score lowers the student's final grade. If the exam grade has a negative impact on the student's first semester grade, the student's grade will be calculated by averaging the first marking period grade and the second marking period grade equally.

  • If the student's exam score increases the student's final first semester grade, the exam score will be averaged into the student's final grade. In these instances, the student's grade will be calculated by averaging the first marking period grade (40%), the second marking period grade (40%) and the exam grade (20%).

  • Students who do not wish to take the exam, should still report to class. Students can use this time to conference with their teacher and make up any work to improve overall progress in the course.

Newport News Public Schools recognizes the challenges that some students face with virtual learning. By ensuring these accommodations, the school division is supporting student academic performance by addressing the unprecedented hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions, please contact your teacher. We appreciate your continued partnership.