This year’s junior class has undoubtedly noticed the changes that have taken place regarding the Standards of Learning examinations. The state-required tests have become increasingly more difficult and rely heavily on the use of technology.
Last year the Algebra II SOL test increased its rigor and incorporated “technology-enhanced questions.” In March, the English writing SOL test underwent the same changes, as will the reading portion in May.
The Virginia Department of Education website states that these changes are being implemented to “meet national and international benchmarks for college and career readiness.”
According to the Virginia Department of Education website, this year the test will be given online. “By 2013, online will be the primary delivery mode for all SOL assessments; however SOL tests will continue to be available in paper-and-pencil format for students with a documented need.”
Many students are worried about this year’s test scores because of last year’s decline in pass rates on the state’s technology-enhanced Algebra II test.
According to the FCPS website, the school’s pass rate decreased by seven percent from the 2010-2011 to the 2011-2012 school years.
Marshall was not the only school to experience this change. Many schools across the county saw more dramatic changes than Marshall did.
“A large portion of my class didn’t pass advanced which was surprising since my class was smart,” junior Benjamin Zelkin said.
Although the writing SOL scores have not yet been reported to the school, the English Department chair said she felt confident students will perform well.
“We are very confident because our pass rate is very high,” English teacher Martha Noone said.