Governor, educators to examine Standards of Learning reform

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by David Alan, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 20 at 5:48 PM

NORFOLK -- The Virginia Department of Education says its almost 20-year investment in the Standards of Learning (SOL) shows students are making steady progress in reading, math and writing. 

But now, a task force is being formed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to look at ways to revise the standardized tests. 

Some local college professors say there’s lots of work to be done. 

Dr. Lori Underwood, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Christopher Newport University, says the tests force too much rote memorization of facts and aren’t producing a generation of critical thinkers. 

”I think many students today come in with less of a tolerance for ambiguity, less exposure to situations where the answer isn’t clear,” Underwood says. 

Dr. Rinyka Allison, assistant professor of education at Norfolk State University, says the SOLs generate too much stress for parents, students and teachers.  

"180 days of learning cannot come down to one test,” Allison adds. 

So, what is the best way to test what students across the state know, from the Commonwealth’s more affluent districts to its struggling urban and rural districts?  How do you produce the next generation of critical thinkers? Hear what these top educators would tell the governor Tuesday on 13News Now at 6 p.m.

Click here for the complete report

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