RICHMOND – The percentage of schools meeting state accreditation standards dropped sharply, the Virginia Department of Education announced today.
Officials said the numbers are a consequence of the introduction of rigorous new reading, writing and science Standards of Learning (SOL) tests during 2012-2013, as well as a second year of results from more challenging mathematics assessments.
Data shows that 103 schools in Hampton Roads did not meet the requirements for full accreditation.
Norfolk saw 31 schools miss accreditation. In Chesapeake, which for six years has seen all of its 45 schools fully accredited, 10 this year aren’t. There are 13 schools not fully accredited in Virginia Beach, 15 in Hampton, 19 in Newport News, 10 of 19 in Portsmouth and six in Suffolk, according to the data. One of the schools in Virginia Beach is a new charter school that hasn't taken any SOL tests yet.
According to a state news release, 77 percent, or 1,413, of Virginia’s 1,828 public schools are rated as Fully Accredited for 2013-2014 compared with 93 percent for 2012-2013. The number of schools accredited with warning nearly quadrupled to 395, and six schools have been denied state accreditation because of chronically low achievement.
“Over the last five years, the accreditation bar has been raised through the introduction of more rigorous curriculum standards and challenging new assessments that test students’ problem-solving and critical-thinking skills as well as their content knowledge,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. “In addition, the benchmark pass rates required for full accreditation have increased, and high schools must meet goals for improving graduation rates.”
“The focus of the SOL program has shifted to the ambitious but vital goal of college and career readiness for all students,” Board of Education President David M. Foster said. “Temporary declines in SOL scores and accreditation ratings are signs that the commonwealth is expecting more, not that students are learning less.”
Schools need pass rates of 75 percent in English and 70 percent in math, science and history to be fully accredited. They also need an 85 or higher on a graduation index created for accreditation.
Click here for a full list of accreditation ratings.