Monthly Archives: October 2016

Recent Changes to SOL Testing

There have been lots of changes to state Standards of Learning testing in the past few years. Here are a few of the changes:

  • Since 2013, all SOL tests have shown an increase in the rigor required. Questions include more multi-step problems or problems which require a higher level of thinking.
  • In 2016-2017, the online grades 3-8 mathematics SOL tests and online grades 3-5 reading SOL tests will be administered as computer adaptive tests. A Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) is an assessment that is customized for every student. How a student responds to a question determines the difficulty of the next item. A correct response leads to a more difficult test item, while an incorrect resonse results in the selection of a less difficult item for the student.
  • Technology-Enhanced Items. All subjects now include non-multiple choice test items. These require students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills. Some require students to enter an answer directly; others require, for example, students to construct on-line graphs or order items.
  • New method of test delivery. Beginning in 2017, students can take online SOL tests on iPads. Previously testing had been limited to computers and laptops.
  • Retakes of SOL tests when students almost pass. For years, high school students have had the option of taking end-of-course assessments again after remediation. Now this has been extended to all students, grades 3-8. Students must score in the 375-400 range to be eligible for re-takes and parental approval is required.