SOL test results mixed for Henrico students

Results are in from last year's Virginia Standards of Learning tests, and the numbers for Henrico County public school students are mixed.

Overall, Henrico students improved their average SOL pass rates in 14 of their 33 test subjects during 2011-12, when compared with the previous year's results, but suffered decreases in 13 other subjects. Pass rates remained the same in six subjects.

Henrico students fared best in history (improving in six of the eight tests, when compared to the 2010-11 results, while remaining the same in one) and reading (improving in four of the seven tests, while remaining the same in one).

But they – like other students statewide – struggled with the new mathematics tests, which last year included new, more rigorous standards adopted by the state's Board of Education in 2009.

Average math pass rates in Henrico fell in eight of the nine SOL tests – including significantly in the third-grade test (a 67 percent pass rate, down from 93 percent the previous year) and eighth-grade test (a 41 percent pass rate, down from 82 percent the previous year).

Sixth-grade students were the only ones to improve from their previous math results, jumping from a pass rate of 61 percent in 2010-11 to 72 percent in 2011-12.

In math, Henrico students fared worse than the state average in the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade math tests, as well as in the Algebra 1 test.

Overall, the county's students exceeded the state pass rates in 19 of the 33 SOL tests (four in English, six in history, four in math and five in science) but fell short of the state averages in 12 other categories.

“As school divisions align curriculum and instruction with the new standards and focus on strengthening students’ problem-solving skills, I am confident that we will see higher achievement in mathematics and more graduates who are truly college and career ready,” Board of Education President David M. Foster said.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell agreed.

“Raising standards was the right thing to do and in the long-term interest of Virginia students and our economy,” McDonnell said. “I commend all of our teachers and students for their excellent efforts in adapting to and embracing these challenging new standards. This is a necessary step in ensuring that Virginia students are ready to excel in our globally competitive economy. It is a challenge we must meet if we're going to succeed in the economy of the decades ahead.”

Hanover County students outperformed their Henrico counterparts in 27 tests, while Chesterfield students scored better than Henrico students in 19 tests.

SOL science results in Henrico were relatively stable, with pass rates in biology and Earth science up slightly (to 94 and 92 percent, respectively) and third-grade, fifth-grade and chemistry results remaining the same (92, 93 and 97 percent, respectively).

Writing scores were up from 90 to 92 percent at the secondary school level, down from 89 to 87 percent at the eighth-grade level and stable at the fifth-grade level at 89 percent
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The Henrico Theatre Company will present the romantic comedy “She Loves Me” July 7-23 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Georg and Amalia are two feuding clerks in a European parfumerie during the 1930s who secretly find solace in their anonymous pen pals, little knowing their respective correspondents are none other than each other. All performances are at 8 p.m. except for Sunday matinees which are at 2:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors (55+) and students. For details, call 501-5859 or visit http://www.henrico.us/rec. Full text

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