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How should Virginia schools measure student progress?

What should happen to a school that doubles test scores but still does not make the grade?

The idea that schools should get credit for improving student performance is a controversial one. Critics say a school that does not make the grade should face consequences. But, Chad Stewart at the Virginia Education Association says teaching to the test encourages schools to focus on students on the bubble while ignoring students most in need

"The new standards really incentivize schools to focus on closing achievement gaps and growth for all of their students regardless of how close they are or far away they are from passing the state tests," Stewart says.

Laura Goren at the Commonwealth Institute says the fact that so many schools are accredited is a sign that educators in Virginia are working hard.

"Schools are trying to meet the needs of their students," Goren says. "And the state recognizes that with the partial accreditation and the accreditation with conditions that it provides the schools that are doing their best despite the challenging circumstances."

Education officials started weighting growth more heavily back in 2018, although the new members of the State Board of Education could end up reconsidering that decision next year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Updated: October 14, 2022 at 2:08 PM EDT
Editor's Note: The Virginia Education Association is a financial supporter of Radio IQ.
Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.