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USDE gives Virginia permission to cancel SOL tests

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Posted at 4:53 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 16:53:04-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The U.S. Department of Education on Monday gave Virginia permission to cancel federally mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) tests during the 2019-2020 school year.

Last week, Governor Ralph Northam ordered all schools in the commonwealth closed through the end of the current academic year as a means for slowing the spread of coronavirus.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 requires states to administer annual assessments in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school. In Virginia, the tests are referred to as Standards of Learning tests, or SOLs.

The law also requires testing in science at least once in elementary, middle and high school.

On March 20, in the wake of extended school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced an expedited process for approving statewide waivers of ESSA testing mandates.

Virginia’s educational system also includes tests in writing, social studies, and history that are not required by the federal law. VDOE is “exploring options for cancelling the administration of state-required SOL tests during the reconvened session of the General Assembly in April.”