With 1.26 million students and 2,203 schools, Virginia has the largest student population of all the states REL Appalachia serves. Virginia is also the most racially diverse; nearly 25 percent of Virginia’s students identify as Black and 12 percent as Hispanic. About 7 percent of Virginia’s students have limited English proficiency.
In 2009, Virginia adopted the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL). The SOL standards and expectations for student learning meet national benchmarks for college and career readiness. In 2011, the Virginia Board of Education implemented new teacher evaluation criteria that use measures of student academic growth to assess teacher performance. In the 2014-15 school year, Virginia began using Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) to administer mathematics SOLs to grade 6 students. CAT assessments allow tests to be customized to each student, as students’ answers determine the difficulty of subsequent exam questions.
REL Appalachia’s work with the Virginia Research Alliance (VRA) focuses on building middle school educators’ capacities to use data to identify struggling students and select and implement interventions to support them. Specifically, Virginia educators are interested in an early warning system that can be used to flag students at risk of being unprepared for high school coursework. To learn more about education in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Education.