More than two-thirds of Richmond students fail multiple SOLs: 'This is what failure looks like'

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-21 19:34:11-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Although students across the state of Virginia have improved their Standards of Learning (SOL) scores in most subjects during their first year in person since the pandemic, student SOL scores in Richmond dropped dramatically in history, science and writing.

These new numbers were released by the Virginia Department of Education on Thursday.

ALSO READ: Henrico students show improvement, but still below most state averages in SOLs

Just around a third of Richmond students passed the SOL in each of those subjects in the 2021-2022 school year. Compare that to the 2020-2021 school year, when 59% of students in Richmond passed history, 55% passed writing and 46% passed the science SOL.

Student scores statewide in writing also dropped from a 69% pass rate to 65%.

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IN-DEPTH COVERAGE: Richmond student failed every SOL until he got to Franklin Military Academy

On the seventh-grade math SOL, data shows that zero RPS students passed the SOL and just 13% of students in Petersburg passed it. Compare that to Chesterfield, where 83% of seventh graders passed the math SOL this past school year.

However, the vast majority of RPS seventh-graders took the eighth-grade math Standards of Learning (SOL) test during the 2021-2022 school year, as opposed to the seventh-grade math SOL. And of those 1,072 students that took the eighth-grade SOL, 18.28% of them passed it.

Additionally, 108 seventh-graders graders took the seventh-grade math SOL in Richmond. None of them passed.

Matthew Stanley, a spokesperson for RPS, said taking into account the seventh-graders' seventh-grade math SOL scores, eighth-grade math SOL scores and seventh-grade math VAAP scores, 15% of all seventh-graders passed their math test.


RELATED: Majority of Richmond 7th graders took 8th grade math SOL. 18% passed.

Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras blamed the scores on COVID-19.

"What we are seeing is the impact of the pandemic, I think we need to remember this was a once-in-a-century experience for our kids who were out of school for a long time," Kamras said.

School Board Member Jonathan Young (4th district) said he spent the day analyzing the numbers and sent us the following statement.

“This is what failure looks like. But to be clear this is a failure by adults, not students. This is a failure by every adult that contended that remote learning was a worthy substitute for in-person. I voted not once, not twice, but three times to resume in-person instruction but instead, RPS locked the schoolhouse doors for a year and a half. I then pushed hard for an alternate schedule including a year-round calendar and more instructional days to catch up but instead, we adopted a business as usual. This is what happens to our kids when adults fail."

It should be noted that "SOL test results for 2020-2021 reflect reduced student participation in state assessments due to COVID-19 and other pandemic-related factors. Variations in participation rates and learning conditions should be considered when reviewing 2020-2021 assessment data."

FULL INTERVIEW: Richmond superintendent on SOL scores, new playground opening

FULL INTERVIEW: Richmond superintendent on SOL scores, new playground opening



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