Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bottom 10 Things about Virginia SOLs.

As we enter the "silly" season, AKA SOL season, we thought a list of this variety might be interesting. 
So below is TU's list.  Please feel free to add.

  1. How they intrude upon the schedule.  For at least 2-3 weeks a year, schools basically shut down.
  2. The money that is poured to testing.  They exist and the testing machine must be fed.
  3. The amount of time spent prepping specifically for tests, that could be used to teach/learn.
  4. They (the tests) now define us, as in schools.
  5. End of Course Tests start in March?  How does that make sense?
  6. Their secrecy.   How much time gets wasted because of “test security.”
  7. S.O.L.  The acronym is appropriate for obvious reasons.
  8. Kindergarten through 8th graders are only “expected to take the test”- that should read "can if they want to" and extend that approach to High School.
  9. 2% of schools met the standard in 2001, that number was up to 92% in 2005-2006
  10. The tests were developed in secret, and are still pretty much handled that way.  To avoid “teaching to the test”                                                                                                                                                            
(10 Just wasn't enough) 
     11.  The impact on students is so profound.  They are changed by these tests and not in a good way
     12.  Not being able to use the gym or media center for 2+ weeks kinda sucks.  
     13.  Pearson-controls the curriculum materials, create the test, grade the test, any questions? At least they don't write the standards (maybe).


    1. With all the talk about transparency, admittedly there is not much of this with SOLs. The test security agreement does not help when it comes to conveying to folks the idiocy of these tests.

    2. Transparency? No such thing with these tests. At least with the old paper/pencil test you could sit in a room and review the tests each year (at least the first few years), but it seems that actual released tests are hard to come by and no one has a chance to really look them over to evaluate them. I guess we should just learn to trust the DOE and Pearson to know what's best for us.

      The sad thing is that our SOLs and even the testing could be (and has been in some ways) a positive thing for education if kept in the proper perspective. Unfortunately they have become the primary driver not just for Standards based courses, but for the entire education system in Virginia.

    3. S.O.L.'s suck and so does BHS