Local Alternative Assessments (LAAs) are performance-based assessments (PBAs) required by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). These assessments are designed to replace the multiple-choice SOL tests that were previously administered in 3rd grade Science, 3rd grade Social Studies, 5th grade Writing, 6th grade U.S. History (Part I) and 7th grade U.S. History (Part II). Rather than exclusively test content knowledge, performance assessments compel students to create a product OR perform a task in order to demonstrate understanding. While PBAs certainly require students to apply content knowledge, the larger focus is on the development of essential skills like critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, and citizenship (the "5 C's"). The Virginia Department of Education has identified the Five C's as the essential skills needed "to be successful and 'life ready' in an economy and a world characterized by rapid change."

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