Welcome to Harrisonburg City Public Schools. This page will attempt to give you information and assistance concerning SOL testing by answering the following frequently asked questions (FAQs):

What are SOLs?

What are SOL tests?

How can a student prepare for an SOL test?

What is Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT)?

What is a “verified credit” and how many are needed to graduate?


What are SOLs?

SOL stands for Standards of Learning.  Every course in Virginia has Standards of Learning that guide instruction by defining what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course.  Please use these links to find the Standards of Learning for various courses:

English:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/index.shtml

Mathematics:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/mathematics/index.shtml

Science:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/science/index.shtml

History & Social Science:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/history_socialscience/index.shtml

Economics and Personal Finance:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/economics_personal_finance/index.shtml

Family Life:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/family_life/index.shtml

Fine Arts:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/fine_arts/index.shtml

Foreign Language:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/foreign_language/index.shtml

Computer Technology:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/computer_technology/index.shtml

Health:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/health/index.shtml

Physical Education:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/physical_education/index.shtml

Driver Education:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/driver_education/index.shtml


What are SOL tests?

Some subjects have a standardized test given at the end of the course to measure the success of students in meeting the Virginia Board of Education’s expectations for learning and achievement.  These subjects are:

Mathematics: Grades 3,4,5,6,7,8, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2

Reading: Grades 3,4,5,6,7,8,11

Writing: Grades 8,10

Science: Grades 5, 8, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry

History and Social Science: Virginia Studies in Grade 4, Civics and Economics in Grade 8, Virginia & U.S. History, World History 1, World History 2, World Geography

How can a student prepare for an SOL test?

There is no substitute for learning in the classroom.  Students should be engaged learners and use feedback from the teacher to identify their strengths or weaknesses.  Students should be familiar with the Standards of Learning for the course.  Parents/Guardians play an important role by monitoring the performance of the student and participating in parent/teacher conferences.  Students can become familiar with the SOL testing format by taking practice SOL tests and released SOL tests.  The practice SOL tests are short versions of the SOL test that provide examples of the new content and increased rigor represented by the revised Standards of Learning and illustrate the new Technology-Enhanced Items (TEI) that require students to indicate their responses in ways other than a multiple-choice format.  Please note that the practice items are not intended to be a complete test and are not intended to cover all content for the grade level or course or to represent all types of functionality of the TEI items.  Audio versions of the practice items are available for those students who qualify for an audio accommodation on a Standards of Learning test.  Practice tests for all SOL tested courses can be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/practice_items/index.shtml  Notice that the Guide allows a teacher/parent/guardian to lead the student through the practice and includes answers and explanations for each item.

Another resource available in preparing for SOL tests are released tests and test items, which are the actual SOL test items that were used on a past test administration.  These released items can be found at  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/released_tests/index.shtml  Use caution when using older released tests since they may not cover the current Standards of Learning for the course.  The PDF document contains the answers and may contain a chart to convert the raw score to a scaled score.

The resources available for the Writing SOL test can be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/online_writing/index.shtml.  These resources include a list of writing prompts for 8th grade at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/online_writing/writing_prompts/gr_8_writing_prompts.pdf and the prompts for high school, also called EOC (End-Of-Course) at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/online_writing/writing_prompts/eoc_writing_prompts.pdf  It also includes a persuasive paper checklist at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/online_writing/graphic_organizers/persuasive_paper_checklist.pdf  as well as instruction writing checklists for 8th grade and instruction persuasive writing checklists for high school (EOC).

What is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT)?

A Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) is an assessment that is customized for each student.  How a student responds to a question determines the difficulty of the next item.  A correct response leads to a more difficult item, while an incorrect response results in the selection of a less difficult item for the student.  This results in a test that can achieve the same accuracy in measuring performance as a traditional test, but uses fewer questions.  For example, the grade 6 mathematics CAT SOL test has 53 questions compared to the traditional test which had 60 questions.  For more information on CAT go to http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/test_administration/cat/index.shtml

What is a “verified credit” and how many are needed to graduate?

To graduate from high school in Virginia, a student must pass a certain number of courses and pass a certain number of SOL tests.  When a student passes a high school level course, they earn a credit toward graduation.  When the student passes a high school level course AND passes the associated SOL test, they earn a verified credit.  The current requirement for a standard diploma is that a student must pass 22 high school level courses and must earn 6 verified credits. (See this site for details http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/graduation/standard.shtml ) To earn an advanced studies diploma, most of our students will have to pass 26 high school level courses and must earn 9 verified credits. (See this site for details  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/graduation/advanced_studies.shtml )