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VA Standards of Learning & Testing

The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health/physical education and driver education.

Annual assessments – including SOL tests and alternative assessments – provide information on individual student achievement including those with special needs.

Technology-Enhanced Tests

Online is now the primary delivery mode for all SOL assessments, although SOL tests continue to be available in paper-and-pencil format for students with a documented need. The benefits of online testing for students and schools include:

  • Faster return of student scores
  • Increased instructional and remediation time due to timely return of student results
  • Improved efficiency of data collection and management
  • Increased accuracy of student data
  • Increased security of test content and student data
  • Reduced administrative burdens on school and division staff
  • The ability to include "technology-enhanced" items that allow students to indicate their responses in ways other than multiple choice that also may demonstrate critical-thinking skills

Virginia’s online assessment program is made possible by the General Assembly through Virginia’s SOL Technology Initiative, which provides funding for school divisions to secure and update hardware and infrastructure resources. During 2012-2013, more than 3 million assessments were administered online.


  • Practice items provide examples of the new SOL content and increased rigor and illustrate the new types of technology-enhanced items for the following:
    • Writing – grades 5 and 8 and end-of-course
    • Reading – grades 3-8 and end-of-course
    • Mathematics – Grades 3-8 and Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II
    • Science – Grades 3, 5, 8 and Biology, Earth Science and Chemistry
  • Online Writing includes teaching strategies and lesson plans, video links, SOL progression charts, graphic organizers, and resource links to assist teachers at all grade levels in the instruction of the writing process.
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