PGCPS to Administer Fall, Spring Assessments to Measure Student Growth

September 14, 2021

Good morning Prince George Families,

The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2021 requiring the implementation of growth assessments for students enrolled in grades 3-8 reading and mathematics. In the 2021-2022 school year, the legislation calls for the administration of a fall assessment and a spring assessment in grades 3-8 reading and mathematics to measure student growth.  

The assessments administered in the fall will be based on the previous grade level’s content and will be used as baseline data. This is intended to assist in identifying unfinished learning from the 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic and will be used to guide instruction throughout the 2021-2022 school year. The Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments administered in spring 2022 will be used to determine growth and serve as the summative assessment for the course. 

Students across Prince George County will take growth assessments beginning September 27 through October 1, 2021. The exact dates and times that your child will complete the assessment will be communicated as they are finalized by each school. You can find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in the Growth Assessments FAQ at the bottom of this announcement provided by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Please email Wade Kliebenstein, Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability, at wkliebenstein@pgs.k12.va.us if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Wade Kliebenstein
Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability
Prince George County Public Schools
wkliebenstein@pgs.k12.va.us

- - - - - - - - - -

VDOE Logo

Fall Growth Assessments
Frequently Asked Questions

Publish Date: September 3, 2021

What are the growth assessments and why is VDOE introducing them?
Growth assessments are mandated by House Bill 2027 and Senate Bill 1357, which were approved by the 2021 General Assembly. For 2021-2022, the legislation calls for the administration of fall growth assessments in grades 3-8 reading and math, in addition to the end-of-year Standards of Learning tests students will take next spring. As required by the legislation, mid-year or winter growth assessments in reading and mathematics will be introduced in 2022-2023.
 
Are growth assessments aligned with the Standards of Learning
Yes. Growth assessments are aligned with the Standards of Learning for reading and mathematics, and are based on the SOL test blueprints for grades 3-8. Growth assessments, however, are proportionally shorter than SOL tests.
 
How will growth assessments help students to complete unfinished learning from the pandemic?
The growth assessments students will take this fall assess content from the previous grade level. Online growth assessments for third graders in fall 2021 will include grade-3 test items primarily focused on content covered by the second-grade reading and math standards. The administration of assessments measuring content from the previous grade level will help teachers and other educators identify unfinished learning from 2020-2021 where students need additional assistance and practice.
 
Will students take growth assessments online?
Students will take growth assessments online unless there is a documented need for a paper-and-pencil test. Like the online SOL reading and math tests students are accustomed to taking in the spring, growth assessments are computer adaptive.
 
What is computer adaptive testing?
Computer adaptive testing is a well-established assessment technology that provides a customized testing experience for students. Computer adaptive tests begin with an item of moderate difficulty. If a student answers the item correctly, the computer selects a slightly more challenging problem as the next item. Conversely, an incorrect response results in the selection of a slightly less difficult item. Students’ scores are determined by the number of questions answered correctly and the relative difficulty of the correctly answered items.
 
Will VDOE report aggregate results of fall growth assessments?
No. As the purpose of the growth assessments is to establish a baseline for measuring individual student growth, there are no minimum passing scores for the tests, and VDOE will not calculate or report aggregate results.
 
How will parents access information about the performance of their children on the new growth assessments?
Parents will receive an individual report for their students with details of how they performed on each test item. To provide these reports, VDOE is working with its assessment vendor to develop an online parent portal. The portal will allow parents to access their child’s growth assessment score report, along with a customized explanatory video. The parent portal is expected to be available in late fall. Schools will provide printed reports to parents without home internet access.
 
How will the growth assessments be used to measure growth in reading and mathematics for calculating school accreditation ratings?
For the 2021-2022 school year, VDOE will measure growth by comparing spring 2022 SOL scores with either the spring 2021 SOL scores, or the scores from the new fall 2021 growth assessments. Accreditation will be based on the comparison that shows greater growth. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, VDOE will compute growth using scores from both the beginning and mid-year growth assessments, and comparing them with performance on the spring 2023 SOL assessments. The specifics of the methodology are under development.
 
Will students with disabilities take growth assessments?
Yes. Students with disabilities will take growth assessments with the same accommodations specified in their Individualized Education Plans for SOL testing. Paper- and-pencil growth assessments will be available when there is a documented need. For fall 2021 only, paper growth tests will be the full-length SOL tests from the previous year. Shorter paper-and-pencil tests will be developed for use in 2022-2023 and beyond.