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96 Percent of Virginia Schools Meet SOL Standards Chesapeake, James City County/ Williamsburg, New Kent, Poquoson, Surry & York County school made the grade – the only local divisions to do so.

Yesterday, The Virginia Department of Education released schools’ pass rates on Standard of Learning exams, which determine school accreditation. A minimum percentage of students must pass tests in English, math, science and history/social science for their schools to be fully accredited.

Failing to meet the benchmark in one subject can result in a status of "accredited with warning." Schools that do not meet benchmarks for more than three years in a row can be denied accreditation or granted conditional accreditation.

Ninety-six percent of Virginia’s 1,838 public schools are fully accredited and meeting all state standards for achievement in English, mathematics, history and science — and graduation, in the case of high schools — the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) announced today.

Locally, every Chesapeake, James City County/ Williamsburg, New Kent, Poquoson, Surry  & York County school made the grade – the only  local divisions to do so.

More Norfolk schools failed to meet state accreditation targets than any other division in the state this year, ranking it among the worst performing school systems in Virginia.

A total of 18  Hampton Roads schools, including 10 in Norfolk, 2 each in Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth and Suffolk were denied full accreditation, according to data released Thursday by the VA State Department of Education.

The surge in underperforming schools was spurred in part by a new requirement that incorporates graduation and dropout statistics into high schools’ accreditation standards.

Nine of the local high schools that weren’t fully accredited met every standard except the graduation index.

Failing to earn full accreditation can hurt a division’s reputation but rarely results in more than bad publicity. Schools that fall short of full accreditation in consecutive years can be required to come up with an improvement plan and notify parents of changes, but the state cannot pull funding or force schools to close.

Failing to meet the benchmark in one subject can result in a status of "accredited with warning." Schools that do not meet benchmarks for more than three years in a row can be denied accreditation or granted conditional accreditation.

Accredited with Warning

A school receives this rating if pass rates are below the achievement levels required for full accreditation. Schools that are Accredited with Warning undergo academic reviews and are required to adopt and implement school improvement plans. Schools that are Accredited with Warning in English and/or mathematics also are required to adopt instructional programs proven by research to be effective in raising achievement in these subjects.

In Norfolk, about one in five schools missed full accreditation. Nine divisions statewide, all smaller than Norfolk, saw a higher percentage of schools fail to meet the benchmarks.

Statewide, 86 percent of high schools met full accreditation standards, down from 99 percent a year ago.

"Whenever standards are raised, there are schools that require time to meet the new expectations,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. "The fact that 86 percent of high schools already meet or exceed the standard for graduation and completion speaks to the efforts of educators and administrators to raise graduation rates.”

Updated school report cards and accreditation ratings for 2011-2012 for all schools are available on the VA Dept. of Education website.

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