Before the GA ended this year, the final bill (SB 969) impacting SOL tests and authentic assessments would allow for EOC tests to be based off an authentic assessment. Originally, SB 969 specifically prohibited performance assessments, but then at the last minute, it was amended to allow for them.
But then the session ended without a budget. When the Senate came back in the last few weeks, the budget they were debating referred back to the original wording SB 969.
So in conjunction with the Virginia Social Studies Leaders Consortium, we submitted the following letters to Virginia Senators in support of the amended SB 969 which allows for performance assessments:
As members of the Virginia Social Studies Leaders Consortium (VSSLC) and the Virginia Council on the Social Studies (VCSS), we urge you to amend budget item 130#1s as reflected below. The proposed language is essentially the current language adopted by the House Education Committee (SB 969) as proposed by the patron, Senator Newman. It was supported by the Board of Education, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS), and a number of education stakeholders. The current language of budget item 130#1s reflects the original language in SB969 prohibiting performance assessments rather than the language ultimately agreed to by the patron and all interested parties.
As a result of the Revised Standards of Accreditation, many school divisions across Virginia are under the impression that verified credit may be earned in the coming school year through locally developed, authentic performance assessments. Local budgets, time, and expertise are currently invested in the development of these assessments and the related professional learning for teachers. While the VSSLC accepts that a state-developed assessment may be a necessary compromise, it is worth noting that many public school teachers and leaders will be both surprised and disappointed by legislation that underestimates the benefits of local authentic performance assessments.
The proposed amendment below supports statewide accountability for social studies education at the high school level. However, it does so by supporting a more balanced approach which includes performance assessments and doesn't simply emphasize memorization at the expense of understanding and application. The shift towards utilizing performance assessments compels school divisions to more fully measure what students know, as well as what they can do with this information. We are confident that this change in assessment will improve social studies instruction, deepen student understanding, and sharpen critical thinking skills.
Below is the rest of the letter, which won't paste into this post nicely, so it's an image.