- Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 October 2011 15:41
- Published on Wednesday, 05 October 2011 15:41
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The Westmoreland County School Board and division administration saw this one coming. The bars were raised with respect to test scores and high school graduation standards, and the State Board of Education reported last Thursday that Washington and Lee High School did not meet the new standard for full accreditation.
Washington and Lee was instead accorded provisional accreditation. It was already
known that the last round of test scores were too low to meet the recently elevated testing standard. Only the county school division’s Montross Middle School fulfilled the latest test criteria associated with Standards of Learning and No Child Left Behind.
Washington and Lee is among the 30 high schools in Virginia accorded the provisional accreditation that surpasses the accreditation with a warning received by 11 other high schools in the state.
The No Child Left Behind/Standards of Learning protocols mandate a continued raising of the bar associated with the testing metrics and the types of diplomas a division’s graduates receive. It is no longer enough to receive a GED or a vocational degree. It’s not even the number of drop-outs that drive the metric’s graduation index.
“The new index extends credit to students who earn a board-recognized diploma,” the State Board of Education related on its Sept. 29 web posting.
“Partial credit is given when students earn a GED. Partial credit is additionally awarded when students return to high school for a fifth year with the expectation of meeting the graduation requirements.”
To be fully accredited, high schools need to have a graduation and completion index of 85 or higher. As of last Thursday, 96 of Virginia’s 1,838 schools received full accreditation with respect to SOL test results. Only high schools were subjected to the program’s new graduation completion index.
One year ago 99 percent of Virginia’s high schools received full accreditation. Patricia Wright, State Superintendent of Instruction, explained the new measure of 86 percent as part of the progression associated with the raising of the bar.
“Whenever standards are raised, there are schools that require time to meet the new expectation,” Wright stated on Sept. 29. “The fact that 86 percent of the high schools already meet or exceed the standard for graduation and completion speaks to the efforts of educators and administrators to raise graduation rates.”
“Our schools will begin a new trend line as these more rigorous standards and assessments become effective,” said Wright when discussing the higher testing standards.
“Raising standards is the right thing to do, and I am confident that our teachers and schools will rise to the challenge and Virginia students will be better prepared as a result.”