Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS) earned recognition from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) today for being one of 22 school divisions in Virginia earned full accreditation from the VDOE. In 2014, FCCPS had the highest or among the highest passing rates in Virginia on all of the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.
“Our teachers are leaders in the state of Virginia, and their dedication to our children is extraordinary,” FCCPS superintendent Toni Jones said in a press release.
According to the VDOE, at least 75 percent of students must pass reading and writing SOL tests and at least 70 percent must pass state assessments in mathematics, science and history for a division to earn full accreditation. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation and completion.
Falls Church City schools ranked first in reading and writing passing rates with 90.59 and 91.22 percent of students passing those test, respectively. FCCPS was the only school division in the state with passing rates of 90 percent or higher in those categories.
FCCPS also had the second highest rank in history (93.43 percent) and mathematics (89.54 percent) and the third highest rank in science (90.71 percent).
Despite these achievements, SOL passing rates, with a few exceptions, have been trending downward in the past few years following VDOE changes to the SOL mathematics for the 2011-2012 school year and changes to the science, reading and writing tests the following year.
“I commend our staff and students for embracing the challenge of these rigorous exams. The past two years have required some adjustments as Virginia moves away from traditional multiple choice testing,” Dr. Jones said in a press release from FCCPS.
“The technology enhanced items on the exams have meant new skills must be incorporated that far exceed checking a multiple choice box. Students use technology now to drag, drop, and write online for these exams. They must apply critical thinking skills to solve complex problems with more than one answer.”
For the 2011-2012 school year, FCCPS’ passing rate for the reading assessments was 95.59 percent, which dropped to 90.89 percent for the 2012-2013 school year and dipped slightly to 90.59 percent for the 2013-2014 school year.
The FCCPS passing rate for mathematics during the 2010-2011 school year was 92.99 percent, which dropped to 87.96 percent the following year and 87.28 percent the year after that. The passing rates for mathematics raised during the 2013-2014 school year with 89.54 percent of FCCPS students passing the SOL mathematics assessments.
The passing rates for the writing assessments dropped nearly eight points from the 2011-2012 school year to the 2012-2013 school year, but bounced back up to 91.22 percent for the 2013-2014 school year. After raising for three consecutive school years, FCCPS’ passing rates for the science assessments have been dropped nearly seven percentage points since the 2011-2012 school year.
FCCPS’ passing rates for history and social science have been around 94 percent for the past four school years.