Lynchburg Superintendent Responds to City's SOL Scores

Lynchburg, VA - The results are in, and your students' scores on the SOLs. Tuesday we found out how they did and what changes may be coming to future tests.

In Lynchburg, Danville and Roanoke, positive and negative take-aways from this year's SOLs.

We caught up with Lynchburg Superintendent, Dr. Scott Brabrand to talk testing, and see what a new SOL will look like with a new Virginia Governor.

"Our 8th grade math went up 10 points" said Brabrand as he looked over test results.

With his school's scores scattered about his desk, Brabrand cracks a smile. He's happy with last year's SOL scores.

"Overall feeling is we're making progress" he said.

The city saw slight gains in test results for history and math.

"Six out of the nine math tests, and our gains were greater than the state gains. We still have work to do, but we're headed in the right direction' said Brabrand.

One area of particular struggle for city schools was Algebra. State scores averaged a 76% pass rate. In Lynchburg, that number was only 55%.

When it came to the state's brand new reading SOL assessment, "It's a new trend line for everybody in the state. Scores dropped across the state, including here in Lynchburg" said Brabrand.

Average city scores dropped nearly 20 points, as they did for many schools state-wide.

With the tests increase in higher-order thinking questions, Brabrand said the new assessment, is far more rigorous.

"Some students start from behind and are behind even further with these new more rigorous tests" he said.

But change could be coming to the SOLs.

Both Virginia Gubernatorial candidates proposing sweeping changes to the tests, saying teachers have to teach rote memorization techniques, and not skill or knowledge.

A message from this school system superintendent, to this state's future governor, "It's not a one size fits all approach to our tests. We need to individualize our learning, we need to individualize our teaching for students, but we also need to individualize our testing" said Brabrand.

According to both candidates' websites, they feel the SOLs need to be restructured so that they prioritize problem solving and cognitive thinking, not memorization skills.

One way that change is being considered; reducing the test's multiple choice questions and replacing them with more free form written answers.

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