School accreditations waived for 2021-2022 school year

Education

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia schools will have their accreditation ratings waived for two consecutive school years due to the cancellation of the 2020 Standards of Learning testing. The Virginia Department of Education released a press release today announcing the waiving of accreditation ratings for the 2021-2022 school year. Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane used emergency authority granted by the General Assembly to issue the waiver.

“Waiving annual accreditation for a second year will allow our schools to focus on assessing the impact of the shut down on students, academically and on their social and emotional well-being,” Lane said. 

Accreditation ratings for the 2020-2021 school year were waived back in April. In order to make accreditation decisions the state needs testing scores from the previous year as well as scores from two years before for growth metrics in math and English.

The press release states “even if students are able to take tests next spring, the department won’t have baseline data from 2019-2020 for measuring growth.”

A task force comprised of superintendents, testing directors, educators, the vice president of the state Board of Education and representatives of education professional organizations recommended the waiving of accreditation decisions until there is baseline data to measure growth. 

Schools across the state are working to decide between virtual, hybrid and face-to-face learning plans for the fall. Lane says he wants schools to make these decisions without the added pressure of the possible impact on accreditation.

Lane says any tests given this school year should focus on “evaluating the impact of the pandemic on student learning and establishing a new baseline for measuring student growth.”

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