Virginia To Add Tests To Find Pandemic-Related Learning Gaps

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Schools across Virginia will soon administer additional testing to assess how students in grades 3 through 8 are doing in math and reading after two turbulent school years.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the mandated tests are part of state legislation signed earlier this year that requires schools to administer a growth assessment system that includes testing at the beginning, middle and end of the school year.

Standards of Learning tests given in the spring already account for the testing at the end of the year, so the new growth assessments will be used for the fall testing during this school year, and then the fall and winter testing in 2022-23.

The growth assessments are similar to the format of SOLs, but by law, they have to be shorter tests. The material covered will be from the previous year to help teachers identify areas where learning may have been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The tests are meant to be a baseline, so there are no pass/fail grades. The information gleaned from the tests will allow educators to see where gaps exist in reading and math for individual students.

The new tests this fall come on the heels of SOL scores released last month that show significant drops in pass rates collectively across the state in math and reading. Not all students participated in SOL testing because of flexibility offered to Virginia students due to the pandemic.