SOLs: IW scores remain at or above Virginia average

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, August 29, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County schools’ overall standards of learning test results for the 2017-18 school year show little change from the previous year. 

District SOL scores remain above or the same as state averages for 2017-18, according to the Virginia Department of Education. 

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All Isle of Wight County schools have also been accredited for the upcoming school year, according to Assistant Superintendent Mike Lombardo. 

This is the state’s first year under new Standards of Accreditation that are intended to improve the monitoring of student growth.

The district-wide SOL score for English reading was 81, two points above the state average; writing was 78, the same as the state average; 84 in social studies, the same as the state average; 78 in math, one point above the state average; and 85 in science, one point above the state average. 

Statewide, scores on all measures dropped by 1-2 points. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

However, district-wide, English reading scores were down two points, one point in social studies and science and three points in math, as compared to last year. Writing scores remained the same. 

On the school level, the biggest drops were science scores for Carrsville Elementary School, which fell 15 points from last year; and social studies at Windsor Elementary School, which fell 11 points. 

Windsor High School was the only school to show gains from last year in four of five subject areas, up one point in reading, writing, math and science; and remaining the same in social studies. 

Georgie D. Tyler Middle School also saw some gains in science (four points) and reading (two points). SHS gained four points in writing. 

Hardy Elementary lost ground in its two subject areas, reading and math, dropping one and six points respectively, from last year. 

Westside Elementary showed a six-point gain in social studies from 78 to 84, but still lags behind its 2015-17 score by five points.  

If SOL scores are compared to two years ago — when project based learning was being implemented — the district’s overall scores fell on all measures, from one to three points. 

At the school level, Hardy students lost 13 points in reading, as compared to two years ago, while Carrsville and Smithfield Middle school students lost 19 and 13 points in science, respectively. Other notable losses were at Windsor Elementary School, where students lost 16 points in social studies and 10 points in math.

Isle of Wight County School Board Chairperson Vicky Hulick attributed the dropping scores, as was also experienced statewide, to the SOL’s being revised. 

“SOL’s are one test on one day,” said Hulick, adding that Isle of Wight is fully accredited. 

Parents and the community can come to the schools and attend the expos and see that the students are learning.

“What we’re doing now is what is best for our students. These students are learning, they’re engaged,” said Hulick about the school’s implementation of project-based learning. 

Isle of Wight County schools spokesperson Lynn Briggs said the focus for decades has been on SOL scores, and really to the exclusion of any other data, to measure student success and school quality. 

“We have produced students that do very well on multiple choice tests, but have been lacking in skills needed to be college, career and life ready,” said Briggs.  

Briggs said the state has noted this dilemma and has included the 5 “C’s” in addition to SOLS — critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and citizenship. 

“The state is moving towards more authentic assessments, such as projects, to evaluate student learning, as is IWCS.  Teachers are still teaching the standards, but they may assess learning with a project, performance or product created by the student to demonstrate their understanding of the standards,” said Briggs.

“We want our schools to be accredited, but we realize the importance of taking a holistic approach to preparing our students to be successful after graduation.  We believe providing students with opportunities to use the 5 Cs and to participate in authentic assessments will better prepare them for life, more so than their score on a multiple choice test,” she said. 

Project based learning allows students to put into practice what they learn in the classroom. Isle of Wight County students regularly showcase their hands-on efforts in school-wide expos that are open to the public. 

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said the state

has challenging standards and assessments, and students are performing at a much higher level today than when the state raised expectations six years ago. 

“Pass rates are not the only measure of school quality. If we focus solely on annual pass rates, we miss the achievement of students who are making steady progress toward the benchmarks and the efforts of schools to address issues that directly affect learning and achievement. These factors are captured in the new accreditation system, and the ratings we will report next month will provide a more complete picture of where schools are today and where they can be enhanced in the future.”

The state’s revised standards of accreditation will now assess proficiency based on growth in certain measures, particularly English reading and writing and math. High schools will also be evaluated on similar criteria, as well as rising graduation rates and reduced drop-out rates. 

Isle of Wight County’s graduation rate for the Class of 2017 was 93.8 percent, or 2.7 percent above the state average. 


Individual school SOL averages


•Carrollton Elementary School 

English reading 83 78

Math                77 80


•Carrsville Elementary School 

English reading 91 82

Math                  88 81

Social studies      94 97

Science              91 76


•Georgie Tyler Middle School

English reading   86 88

English writing    76 73

Social Studies      91 90

Math                  93 96

Science               89 93


•Hardy Elementary School

English reading    79 78

Math                   79 73


•Smithfield High School

English reading    87 87

English writing     81 85

Social studies      84 80

Math                  81 80

Science              85 88


•Smithfield Middle School

English reading     81 83

English writing      77 71

Social studies        88 85

Math                    78 75

Science                85 80


•Westside Elementary School

English reading      81 76

Social studies         78 84

Math                     78 71

Science                 79 71


•Windsor Elementary School

English reading       83   78

Social studies         89    78

Math                     91     84

Science                 82     83


•Windsor High School

English reading     89     90

English writing      83     84

Social studies        89    89

Math                    78    79

Science                84     85