Help for SOL's

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

The Virginia Geographic Alliance has developed an atlas and CD Rom to help fourth graders with geography.

Teachers who helped develop the SOL Tests also designed lesson plans to go along with the disk and atlas. According to one of the designers, it's proven to work.

"The lesson plan in turn is linked to all appropriate maps, maps they can use in lessons," said Joseph Edeny of the Virginia Geographic Alliance. "We also have a great picture gallery."

The CD Rom has pictures that are significant to each area of the state.

The CD and atlas should be in all Virginia elementary schools by August.

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Standards of Learning (SOL)

  • In June, 1995, the Virginia Board of Education adopted a new, more rigorous student academic standards of four core content areas of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science.

  • The SOL outline what a student is expected to know and to be able to do at each grade level and in certain high school courses.

  • The content of the Standards of Learning form the basis for the SOL tests administered in grades third, fifth, eighth and high school.

Facts

  • Before the SOLs and accompanying reforms, the requirement for graduating from high school in Virginia was to take and pass a sixth grade test. The Literacy Passport Test (LPT) has three parts: math, reading, and writing. A student was not supposed to be able to graduate from high school without passing this test. In other words, there was a consequence for students – but none for schools. In addition, studies conducted by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) found that 24-25 percent of Virginia high school graduates who go on to Virginia’s public colleges need remedial help.

  • Governor Gilmore and the General Assembly have appropriated generous funding for the implementation of the SOLs. In the 1998-2000 budget, the appropriations for public education increased by $1.2 billion, a 17.6 percent increase over the previous biennium budget. In addition to basic SOQ funding, Governor Gilmore and the General Assembly have appropriated $25.2 million for teacher training, $29.6 million for remediation, $25.1 million for supplemental instructional materials, and $5.1 million for the diagnostic Early Reading Initiative.

  • Not a single school in Virginia failed the test in 1998. However, nearly 98 percent of our schools failed to meet the standard that has been set for the year 2004.

Source: www.knowledge.stat.va.us/ contributed to this report.


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