Fairfax County Schools' SOL Test Results Decline Slightly With New, More Rigorous Test

Regardless, in every area except one, local students still performed better than students statewide in 2012-13.

Results - English Writing Performance, 2012-13 Standards of Learning (SOL) testing. (Credit: Fairfax County Public Schools)
Results - English Writing Performance, 2012-13 Standards of Learning (SOL) testing. (Credit: Fairfax County Public Schools)

By Jennifer van der Kleut

The Fairfax County public school district released the results of the Standards of Learning (SOL) testing for the 2012-13 school year Thursday.

According to a statement released by district officials, the scores indicate Fairfax County students continue to perform "at rates that meet or exceed those of students across Virginia for all student groups, except for Hispanic students in mathematics, based on data released by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)."

The 2012-13 school year was the first in which students took the new version of the test, which was revised in 2010. 

Parents, and even school district officials themselves, say the new test is more challenging.

"These revised standards are more rigorous; in addition, they include technology-enhanced items that require students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as content knowledge," officials said in a press release. 

Officials added, the new testing standards did have a noticeable effect on scores.

"Although pass rates declined with the new standards, reading pass rates in FCPS surpassed those for all student groups in Virginia by 1 to 13 points," officials said.

According to results, FCPS students' average score across all groups - including race/ethnicity, economic status and English-speaking proficiency - declined slightly from the older test administered in 2011-12 to the new test for 2012-13 from a 94-percent pass rate to an 82-percent pass rate.

Across Virginia, the average pass rate from 2011-12 to 2012-13 declined from 89 percent to 75 percent, meaning that, even with the newly revised test, Fairfax County students still perform on average 7 percent better than the rest of the state.

See the tables included in the photo section above for complete results across all groups of FCPS as compared to statewide averages. (Click on table to enlarge)


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