RD569 - Revisions to the Virginia Standards of Learning Summative Assessments of Proficiency

Executive Summary:

State annual assessments are used to measure how well the public education system teaches students to master a state’s academic standards in each subject area. Virginia Standards of Learning assessments are intricately linked to and reflective of the academic standards, as the assessments measure the mastery of the Standards of Learning. Yes, Virginia’s students are trailing behind the rest of the country, and low standards and weak assessments are masking the truth about student performance.(*1)

House Bill 585 (HB 585) charged the Secretary of Education and the Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction to “convene and consult a work group consisting of representatives of the Virginia Department of Education and other appropriate stakeholders to revise the Virginia Standards of Learning summative assessments of proficiency that require students to demonstrate that they possess the skills, knowledge, and content necessary for success and to develop a plan for implementation of such revised assessments."

In March of 2023, the Secretary of Education and the Virginia Department of Education convened the work group comprised of teachers, Board of Education members, leaders, parents, and state level experts to review the current assessment system, analyze national reports on leading innovative state assessments, participate in discussions with national and state assessment leaders in innovative assessment design, and compare Virginia’s rigor of standards and annual assessment framework to high performing states. The work group convened over the course of five months with the outcome resulting in the below recommendations for the future of Virginia’s assessment system.

The HB 585 Work Group’s tasks are part of a larger statewide focus to restructure and strengthen Virginia’s Framework for Excellence in Education. Virginia is committed to raising learning expectations for all children in the Commonwealth. Virginia’s best-in-class Framework for Excellence in Education will create alignment across three components: standards, assessments, and accountability. Virginia has a clear plan to ensure these three components are aligned and first grounded in rigorous academic standards.
(*1) https://www.education.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/secretary-of-education/pdf/Our-Commitment-to-Virginians.pdf