The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Only two schools not fully accredited
By PAMELA GOULD
Like last year, every public school across the Fredericksburg region earned full accreditation from the Virginia Department of Education with two exceptions, according to data released Wednesday.
Moss–Nuckols Elementary in Louisa County and Locust Grove Primary in Orange County received accreditation with warning because of scores on the new math Standards of Learning test.
Those two schools were among 39 of the state’s 1,121 elementary schools to receive accreditation with warning for the 2012–13 school year.
Math SOL scores fell statewide because a more rigorous version of the test was implemented in the 2011–12 school year.
State accreditation ratings for this school year are based on student performance for the 2011–12 school year.
Only 43 percent of Moss–Nuckols students passed the math test last year. Locust Grove Primary students had a 68 percent pass rate, but still fell below the state benchmark of 70.
Students at those schools met the benchmark for the English, history and science SOL tests.
Locust Grove Primary received conditional accreditation the previous year because it was its first year of operation.
To achieve full accreditation, a school must meet the state’s benchmark on the four SOL tests. High schools also must meet a standard for graduation.
Statewide, 93 percent of the state’s 1,836 schools earned full accreditation for this school year.
That’s a 3 percent drop over last year and 5 points lower than two years ago.
“This year’s decrease in the percentage of schools meeting the fully accredited rating is attributed, in part, to results of the new college- and career-ready mathematics tests that were first introduced during 2011–2012,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said in a statement. “We can expect a similar impact next year when we see the results of schools implementing more rigorous standards and tests in English and science this school year.”
Statewide, high schools showed improvement in their accreditation rate one year after the state implemented a new “graduation and completion index,” geared at reducing dropout rates.
Ninety percent of public high schools earned full accreditation, a 4-point increase over results from the 2010–11 school year.
High schools must achieve a score of 85 on the graduation index to achieve full accreditation. Schools receive full credit for students earning a board-recognized diploma and partial credit for students who earn a GED or are enrolled for a fifth year of high school.
Last year, Westmoreland County’s Washington & Lee High School received provisional accreditation because it failed to meet the graduation standard. But for the 2011–12 school year, it exceeded the standard by 7 points, receiving a 92 on the graduation index.
Washington & Lee in Montross was one of 30 high schools statewide that received provisional accreditation last year. That accreditation level meant students at the school met state standards for the four Standards of Learning tests and were within 5 points of meeting the graduation index.
The state’s benchmarks at the middle and high school level require a pass rate of at least 70 percent in all four subject areas.
At the elementary level, the benchmarks differ by grade.
For full accreditation, elementary schools must have a combined pass rate of at least 75 percent on English tests in grades 3 through 5.
They must achieve pass rates of at least 70 percent in mathematics, fifth-grade science and fifth-grade history.
They must receive pass rates of at least 50 percent in third-grade science and third-grade history.
The standards increase for this school year. The minimum pass rate for English rises to 75 percent for all grades. The pass rate for the other three tests for all grade levels will be 70 percent.
Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972