Virginia Standards of Learning and Students with Disabilities: Pretest Checklist

by Mary M. Mehaffey, Ed.D.

It is the intent of the Commonwealth of Virginia to include students with disabilities in the Standards of Learning (SOL) Assessment Program.  School leaders who communicate this message to their staff members clearly are more likely to see higher access rates.  To assist students with disabilities, the Virginia Department of Education provides certain testing accommodations that meet standard and non-standard conditions. Decisions about participation in the testing program and how a student with a disability is assessed should be made independently for each content area.  The IEP Team makes the decisions on the need for and the selection of accommodations for students with disabilities.  This checklist may be used by school division personnel long before the assessment dates arrive.



1. The IEP Teams are addressing assessment needs.



2. Students are assigned for maximum participation in SOL  instruction.



3. School staff and parents understand the seriousness of exclusion from SOL instruction and assessment.



4. Accommodations that are in place on the IEP for the SOL testing are being used regularly during classroom instruction.



5. Staff members understand the difference between accommodations that meet standard and non-standard conditions.



6. Special education teachers understand that a Pass with or without standard conditions is still a Pass.



7. Regular interactions are taking place between the testing coordinators and special education teachers or specific designees.



8. Orders are being placed well in advance of the testing dates for specialized materials and equipment such as Braille, large print, audiotapes, etc.



9. Plans are in place for adequate staff coverage on actual SOL test dates.



10. Classroom spaces are available for students who require setting accommodations such as small group or individual testing or multiple testing dates.



11. American Sign Language (ASL) and cued speech interpreters are in place for those students requiring these accommodations.



12. Staff members understand accommodations for response and have materials in place such as pencil grips, word processors, and augmentative communication devices that are used by the students regularly in class.



13. Special and general education teachers know that reading test items on the English Reading/Literature and Research test is a non-standard condition that is perfectly acceptable if denoted on the IEP as an accommodation and is used regularly in the classroom.  A Pass under these conditions is still a Pass.



14. Everyone understands that #13 above holds true for using an audiocassette version or interpreting services on test items on the English Reading/Literature and Research test if these are used regularly in classroom instruction and are indicated on the IEP as accommodations under non-standard conditions. A Pass under these conditions is still a Pass.



15. Staff members know that dictations to a scribe (writing sample component of the Writing test only), and use of calculators and arithmetic tables on mathematics tests where they are not routinely supplied are non-standard conditions.  As in #13 and #14 above, these accommodations must be used regularly in the classroom and be indicated on the IEP.  A Pass under these conditions is still a Pass.



16. School staff and parents understand that exempting students from the SOL assessments will affect diploma options available.




Virginia Department of Education. (1998). Participation of students with disabilities in Virginia's state assessment system. Richmond: Virginia Department of Education.

Date: February/March 2002