Manassas, M.Park schools to postpone releasing SOL data

Manassas Park and Manassas schools will not be releasing the preliminary unofficial Standards of Learning results until the state has given final accreditation results in the middle or end of October.

Some schools choose to release the information to the public and others do not, said Julie Grimes, Virginia Department of Education public information specialist, who outlined the SOL testing process.

“The final numbers can vary a little bit,” said Thomas Debolt, Manassas Park superintendent of schools. “The problem with publishing those in the newspapers is they can vary four or five points.”

By the end of October, Manassas Park will have the official adjusted results, he said.

“They’re the real McCoy. They’re the final show,” Debolt said. “I think it will show three of four [schools] reached accreditation and one [school] is close.”

Debolt said he is fairly certain Manassas Park Elementary, Middle, and High schools will be fully accredited. Cougar Elementary, Manassas Park’s school for prekindergarten through third grade, will most likely not be fully accredited, according to preliminary unofficial results, received the third week of August, Debolt said.

“We’re not worried — we’ll get Cougar fully accredited,” he said.

Manassas superintendent of schools Chip Zullinger said he thinks the preliminary results for the seven schools in Manassas look good.

“We don’t want to overextend ourselves until the state’s made their final declarations,” Zullinger said.

However, Manassas Schools will see significant gains in many of the schools, according to some of the preliminary results addressed at the joint school board and city council meeting almost two weeks ago.

There are many factors to take into consideration from the time the students take the test to the time the Department of Education determines the accredidation ratings for each school in 132 school divisions, Grimes said.

The process is lengthy because it is not just one school division, but school divisions across the state waiting to hear if they are accredited or not, Grimes said.

Once all of the school divisions have received their results, statewide data is compiled by the SOL testing contractor, Harcourt Brace. When the Department of Education receives this statewide data, the process begins of calculating pass rates on the tests and determining accreditation ratings.

After releasing statewide data, school-by-school pass rates for 1,929 kindergarten through twelfth-grade schools in Virginia will be calculated.

The Department of Education expects to release the 2002 SOL test statewide figures and passing percentages by the end of September. However, there will still be further Standards of Accreditation-required adjustments necessary, Grimes said.

It is complex in determining a school’s accreditation rating. Some calculations may involve adjustments of scores which include the following:

All schools are identified to determine which ones may benefit when three-year averages of passing percentages on each subject area are calculated.

Scores must be calculated for all grade levels of some transfer students and students of Limited English Proficiency enrolled in Virginia public schools for fewer than 11 semesters .

Separate calculations must be done for elementary schools to determine whether third grade scores in history and science are counted toward accreditation. If the school benefits from these calculations, the scores are included.

In high schools, results of substitute assessments approved by the Board of Education for awarding verified credit toward graduation are factored.

Staff writer Jennifer Brennan can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 123

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