Another Way to Crunch the SOL Numbers…

For simplicity’s sake in recent posts about the 2021-22 Standards of Learning (SOL) results, I’ve used the pass rates for English reading tests as a proxy for all five subjects, including English writing, math, science, and history. Perhaps a better way to rate the performance of Virginia school districts would be to compute a composite score of all five. Bacon’s Rebellion correspondent Jim Weigand has done so, and I publish the results here.

The table above shows the 12 school districts with the top composite scores — highest possible pass rate of 500 — and the 12 districts with the lowest composite scores. Click on the “Continue reading” link to see the scores for all school districts.

Five-Subject Pass Rate
2021-22 SOLs
Top 12
Falls Church City 445.0
Lexington City 435.8
Poquoson City 416.7
Wise County 415.2
York County 414.8
Norton City 396.6
Highland County 394.9
Patrick County 394.6
Botetourt County 393.0
Loudoun County 391.9
Washington County 388.7
Tazewell County 388.7
Roanoke County 387.0
Wythe County 386.0
Virginia Beach City 380.4
Fairfax County 380.3
Arlington County 378.9
West Point 377.3
Hanover County 376.0
Pittsylvania County 370.4
Chesapeake City 368.3
Isle of Wight County 366.6
Bland County 363.7
New Kent County 362.1
Augusta County 357.8
Gloucester County 357.6
Williamsburg-James City County 357.6
Grayson County 357.5
Russell County 356.8
Louisa County 356.5
Salem City 356.1
Scott County 356.0
Goochland County 354.0
Montgomery County 352.5
Prince George County 352.2
Clarke County 350.9
Carroll County 349.4
Charlotte County 346.9
Prince William County 346.3
Staunton City 344.2
Rappahannock County 342.5
Dickenson County 341.9
Powhatan County 339.9
Appomattox County 339.8
Fauquier County 339.5
Franklin County 339.0
Bath County 338.2
Bedford County 337.5
Albemarle County 337.0
Surry County 336.1
Fluvanna County 336.0
Rockbridge County 335.9
Mecklenburg County 334.7
King William County 334.3
Floyd County 333.8
Mathews County 333.0
Nelson County 332.7
Giles County 330.1
King George County 329.1
Hampton City 328.2
Sussex County 327.7
Middlesex County 326.8
Radford City 323.4
Chesterfield County 323.4
Frederick County 322.5
Spotsylvania County 322.3
Southampton County 322.3
Henrico County 321.9
Colonial Heights City 321.6
Smyth County 320.1
Campbell County 318.3
Buena Vista City 317.7
Stafford County 317.6
Craig County 317.2
Westmoreland County 316.3
Orange County 315.2
Culpeper County 314.5
Lee County 313.4
Bristol City 311.5
Suffolk City 309.6
Northumberland County 307.8
Dinwiddie County 306.7
Alleghany County 306.5
Accomack County 306.5
Galax City 305.6
Winchester City 305.3
Rockingham County 301.3
Buchanan County 300.7
Pulaski County 299.2
Richmond County 298.4
Lunenburg County 297.3
Henry County 296.8
Amelia County 291.7
Halifax County 291.3
Warren County 290.7
Shenandoah County 290.2
Page County 289.2
Colonial Beach 287.3
Amherst County 287.0
King and Queen County 287.0
Covington City 281.3
Manassas Park City 281.1
Cumberland County 279.5
Caroline County 277.7
Manassas City 275.1
Lynchburg City 274.8
Alexandria City 274.6
Greene County 270.3
Charlottesville City 269.5
Madison County 268.7
Buckingham County 266.3
Nottoway County 263.6
Martinsville City 259.9
Essex County 258.5
Portsmouth City 255.2
Charles City County 252.9
Newport News City 251.6
Norfolk City 251.4
Prince Edward County 248.2
Roanoke City 243.9
Bottom Twelve
Lancaster County 243.9
Harrisonburg City 234.2
Brunswick County 233.1
Waynesboro City 232.6
Northampton County 230.9
Greensville County 221.7
Fredericksburg City 213.5
Hopewell City 202.9
Franklin City 198.0
Danville City 187.5
Richmond City 186.0
Petersburg City 169.4

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23 responses to “Another Way to Crunch the SOL Numbers…”

  1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Again, Southwest Virginia does well–four out of the top 12, five, if you count Patrick County as being in Southwest Va.

  2. DJRippert Avatar

    There has to be a way to adjust the score for English As A Second Language. If a student is just learning English how is that student expected to pass the English test?

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    So the scores look for the SOLs for all the grades? That’s really getting it down to a snapshot!

    NAEP does Grades 4, 8 and 12.

    And the thing about Virginia is that it scores high in 4th grade reading math but drops quite a bit for 8th and 12th grades –

    Top 10 or better in the 4th grade , middle of the pack in 8th and 12th.

    That’s what you DON’T see when you look at SOLs across all grades or proxies across all grades.

  4. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    I am working on some SOL data. What you can’t tell from the public view at the VDOE site is how well each student did on each strand of the test. For example, was I having problems with fractions and decimals or just numeracy. We shouldn’t see that at the public view. School administrators can see that data and you have to believe they are looking for gaps that came about due to Covid and how they are going to fill in the gaps. We have so much to say about why the gaps are there but not much to say about how to fix it. I would be looking at next year’s blueprints and decide what matters most and spend my 180 days wisely. How do we think teachers can do this in the amount of time it takes to get one year’s learning in when they have to fill two years of previous learning as well. Kids and teachers only have so much medulla time to learn it all.

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Good point. The subsection strands reveal the exact areas of weakness. Plot out the subsection strands by when you taught them and then match it up with the kids attendance record. I did that once. It explained a great many things.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        James you taught at a non-public school for a little bit. Do you know how they do stuff like this if they don’t test SOLs?

        1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
          James Wyatt Whitehead

          I learned this trick from the lady who supervised my student teaching. She was right about everything. In the old days you could track grades and attendance in the old trusty green grade book. Computers and electric grade books give you the same data.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      Kathleen – not sure the average person/blogger is aware of this. Sounds like an important diagnostic tool when looking at a kid who is behind or a perhaps a class that is behind after remote instruction.

      Thank you. You should comment more to help the rest of us better understand how things actually “work”.

  5. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    So 500 is the top score. What is passing? What is not passing? What number says you are pass advanced?

    1. MisterChips Avatar

      I’m not familiar with this composite score with a max of 500. On most, if not all, subject tests, 400 is passing, 500 is advanced and 600 is the max.

  6. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    So, 445 out of a possible 500 I assume. Might clarify that…

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Wait? Doesn’t one bat 1000?

  7. The composite score works like this. For the English SOL, if 100% of students taking the test passed, it would add 100 to the composite score. If only 70% passed the test, it would add only 70. Go through that exercise for each of the five tests. If there were 100% pass rates for all five tests, you’d get a 500 maximum score. Nobody gets a 500. But Falls Church students averaged a 90% pass rate for all five tests, adding up to a score of 445. Pretty good.

    The composite score for Petersburg, about 170, suggests that only 34% of students passed each test on average. Pretty scary.

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Got it! Thanks!

    2. Kathleen Smith Avatar
      Kathleen Smith

      Downright ridiculous. What were the kids doing? Certainly, access to something wasn’t there.

  8. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    Seems wrong to compare city schools district with county districts. Kind of like ranking DC on the State listings…

    1. Why? Counties and cities are political subdivisions of the Commonwealth. As such, they are all responsible for providing public education to the children who reside within their jurisdictions. With a few exceptions, each city and each county operates its own elementary, middle and high schools.

      What, specifically, makes it “wrong” to compare them?

  9. Chip Williams Avatar
    Chip Williams

    Bravo. Thanks Mr Bacon for your journalism, finding the truth and sharing it.

  10. How is Harrisonburg, VA 50% Hispanic and 70% free lunch?

    1. Harrisonburg isn’t — but the public school student body might be.

      1. The city is 25% Hispanic. while Rockingham County is 8% Hispanic.

        1. Catholicism, perhaps?

  11. Fredericksburg City at 213.5 is 6th from the bottom, right down there with Richmond, Peterspatch, Danville, Franklin and Hopewell.

    Is that perhaps an outcome of the VDOE report that F’burg had 70.5% chronic absentee rate, and a hint that report may be correct? If kids are not in school it is hard to teach them. I would have expected F’burg city schools to perform much better than that.

    Here’s an article that addresses F’burg school problems:

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