By: Bill Bosher
The Virginia SOL program was never designed to be a "super bowl". While focused on standards, assessment, report cards, and consequences, the intent was to improve achievement. It was about "moving towards, meeting, or exceeding expectations." It was about raising the bar in a generation when math had become general math, consumer math, and "almost" math.
While the debate about the number and nature of tests is reasonable, the reality is that standards and assessment have contributed to the increased performance of Virginia students. As Ambassador Don Beyer, then Lt. Governor, once said, "I am a business man, and I cannot manage what I cannot measure." School is more than testing…and more than English, Math, Science, and History…but families expect their young people to be able to do things and "be" things that they could not if it were not for education. It is not daycare. If it is, it is too expensive. It is about growth!
This years scores have been released. Richmond, heavily criticized in the past, has shown progress…those schools should be commended. When single digit scores persist, a result likely to be less than what students would have done if they had not been taught, adults should feel the consequences. Failing schools are not about little people…they are about big people!