City schools predict 5 percent increase in full accreditation

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(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

Virginia Beach City Public Schools is projecting 94 percent of its testing schools will earn full Standards of Learning (SOL) accreditation for the 2016-2017 school year – this would be a 5 percent increase from 2015.

The standards are expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of every course or grade, according to the website for the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Set by VDOE, they cover subjects such as English, mathematics, science and history/social science. The state uses these test results to produce annual accreditation ratings, which identify schools that need assistance, and to inform the public about school progress.

“In analyzing our SOL data, we are proud to report that gains are happening across all geographic areas of our school division,” Superintendent Aaron Spence said in a release. “That means that we are making sure that every student – no matter his/her economic status, race or school – is provided with the tools and resources necessary to thrive and grow academically.”

Virginia Beach City Public Schools made this projection about its 82 testing schools based on SOL passing rates, set to be released next week by VDOE. The district has a total of 86 schools, but four do not participate in SOL testing, so there are only 82 testing schools, according to a spokesperson for the school district.

According to VDOE, elementary and middle schools are fully accredited if they achieve the following pass rates:

English – 75 percent or higher

Mathematics – 70 percent or higher

Science – 70 percent or higher

History – 70 percent or higher

High schools are fully accredited if students achieve pass rates of:

English  – 75 percent or higher

Mathematics, science and history –   70 percent or higher

High schools also get a point value of 85 or greater for their graduation and completion index. This index score is based on the number of students who receive a diploma, GED or certificate of completion and those who drop out.

College Park Elementary School, projected to earn full accreditation for the first time in four years, saw increases in every area, including English, science, mathematics and social studies ranging from 17-41 percentage points, according to the release. Williams Elementary School, projected to earn full accreditation for the first time in five years, saw double-digit gains in science.  

Windsor Oaks Elementary School is projected to earn full accreditation with increases in all four subject areas. Green Run High School, which was not fully accredited in 2015-2016 and has 54 percent of its school population qualify as economically disadvantaged, is slated to be fully accredited for the 2016-2017 school year, the release said.  

The five schools that are not projected to earn full accreditation are:

Bayside Middle School

Bayside Sixth Grade Campus

Birdneck Elementary

Larkspur Middle

Seatack Elementary

Spence emphasized that although the district is set to experience higher accreditation rates, the tests reflect just one aspect of progress.

“While we are pleased with our SOL data and the significant gains we are seeing at many of our schools, we must remember that standardized tests are only one indicator of a school’s success,” Spence said in the release. “The engagement of students in meaningful work, the involvement of community partners in our classrooms and the dedication of our high-quality teaching staff are the true hallmarks of our schools and will be key in our work to become the premiere school division in the nation.”

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City schools predict 5 percent increase in full accreditation