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Glossary

A

Absenteeism

This chart displays the percentage of students who were absent for less than 10 percent of the most recent school year for any reason. Students who are absent for more than 10 percent of the school year are at greater risk of academic failure.

Accountability

Virginia’s accountability system supports teaching and learning by setting rigorous academic standards — known as the Standards of Learning (SOL) — and through annual statewide assessments of student achievement.  Results from these tests — which most students take online — are used by the commonwealth to identify schools in need of assistance and to inform parents and the public about the progress of schools through the awarding of annual accreditation ratings.

Accreditation

A process used by the Virginia Department of Education to evaluate the educational performance of public schools in accordance with Board of Education regulations.

Accreditation Denied

A school is rated Accreditation Denied if it fails to meet the requirements for full or partial accreditation for four consecutive years. Any school denied accreditation must provide parents and other interested parties the following:  written notice of the school’s accreditation rating; a copy of the school division’s proposed corrective action plan describing the steps to be taken to raise achievement to state standards, including a timeline for implementation; and an opportunity to comment on the corrective action plan prior to its adoption.

Achievement gap

The difference between the performance of reporting categories of students, especially those defined by gender, race/ethnicity, disability and socioeconomic status.

ACT

One of the two commonly used tests designed to assess high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work in four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning.

Adjusted pass rate

The pass rates on Standards of Learning tests and other state assessments that determine a school’s accreditation rating are adjusted to reward schools for successful interventions to increase the achievement of individual students. Adjustments are also made to exclude non-passing scores of English-language learners who have been enrolled in a Virginia public school for fewer than 11 semesters, and the non-passing scores of students who transfer into a school division after the 20th day of instruction in grades 3-8, or after the 20th hour of instruction in a tested high school course.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced programs are college-level courses or programs that are available to high school students which may allow students to earn college credit.

Advanced Placement participation and achievement

Virginia students may substitute Advanced Placement examinations for end-of-course Standards of Learning tests in the same subject areas. Virginia also promotes AP participation through the Virtual Virginia online learning program, and uses federal grant money to subsidize test fees for low-income students. According to the College Board, students who score a three or higher on AP exams have greater academic success in college and are more likely to graduate on time with a degree than comparable non-AP peers.

Alternative assessment

A method to measure student educational attainment other than the typical multiple-choice test which may include portfolios, constructed response items and other performance measurement tools.

Alternative education

A school or center organized for alternative programs of instruction.

Assessment

Method of measuring the learning and performance of students; examples include achievement tests, minimum competency tests, developmental screening tests, aptitude tests, observation instruments, performance tasks, etc.

At-risk students

Students who have a higher than average probability of dropping out or failing school.

Attendance rate

Attendance rates are calculated by dividing a school or division’s average daily attendance by its average daily membership (enrollment). Efforts to improve school attendance are part of a larger effort to increase achievement and close performance gaps between student subgroups. Safe and healthy schools – ones that employ a challenging curriculum and reinforce high expectations for academics, behavior, and social responsibility – are schools that motivate students to attend.

Average daily membership (ADM)

The K-12 enrollment figure used to distribute state per pupil funding that includes students with disabilities ages 5-21, and students for whom English is a second language who entered school for the first time after reaching their 12th birthday, and who have not reached their 22nd birthday; preschool and post-graduate students are not included in ADM.

Average SAT scores

The SAT is the predominant college-admissions assessment in Virginia and is an indicator of the effectiveness of schools in preparing students for postsecondary education. Average SAT scores of Virginia students in reading, mathematics and writing are compared with those of students nationwide.

 

B

Benchmark

A standard for judging performance.

Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award

The Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award is the third-highest award in the commonwealth’s Virginia Index of Performance school recognition program. To earn this award, schools and divisions must meet all state and federal achievement objectives and make progress toward the goals of the governor and the board.

Board of Education Excellence Award

The Board of Education Excellence Award is the second-highest award in the commonwealth’s Virginia Index of Performance school recognition program. To earn this award, schools and divisions must meet all state and federal accountability benchmarks and make significant progress toward the Board of Education’s goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunities.

C

Career & Technical Education

Career and technical education programs in Virginia public schools serve more than 550,000 students in grades 6-12. These programs are designed to prepare young people for productive futures while meeting the commonwealth’s need for well-trained and industry-certified technical workers.

Charter school

A school controlled by a local school board that provides free public elementary and/or secondary education to eligible students under a specific charter granted by the state legislature or other appropriate authority, and designated by such authority to be a charter school.

Class period

Class period is a segment of time in during the school instructional day that is allocated to lessons, courses, testing and assessments or other instructional activities and excludes homeroom.

Cohort

A group of students who entered the ninth grade for the first time during the same school year.

College Board

The organization that administers SAT, AP and other standardized tests to high school students planning on continuing their educations at a post-secondary level.

Combined school

A combined school is a public school containing any combination of grades from kindergarten through grade 12, excluding elementary schools (K-5), middle schools (6-8), or high schools (9-12). Examples of combined schools include K-8 schools and K-12 schools.

Composite index of local ability to pay

A formula to determine the state and local government shares of K-12 education program costs, which is expressed as a ratio, indicating the local percentage share of the cost of education programs; for example, a locality with a composite index of 0.3000 would pay 30 percent and the state would pay 70 percent of the costs.

Conditionally Accredited: New School

Conditionally Accredited: New School is a rating awarded for a one-year period to a new school comprising students who previously attended one or more existing schools to provide the opportunity to evaluate the performance of students on SOL tests and other statewide assessments.

Core curriculum

The body of knowledge that all students are expected to learn in the subjects of English, mathematics, history/social science and science.

CTE completers

A CTE completer is a student who successfully completes a two-year career or technical education program and who also completes all requirements for a high school diploma or for an approved alternative education program, such as a high school equivalency.

Curriculum

A plan or document that a school or school division uses to define what will be taught and the methods that will be used to educate and assess students.

Curriculum alignment

Occurs when what is taught includes or exceeds the content defined by the Standards of Learning.

D

Diplomas

A Virginia high school diploma signifies that the bearer has met expectations for learning and achievement established by the Board of Education in reading, writing, mathematics, science, history and other subjects.

Direct aid to public education

Funding appropriated for the operation of public schools including funding for school employee benefits, Standards of Quality, incentive-based programs, allotment of sales tax and lottery revenues and specific appropriations for programs such as Governor’s Schools and adult literacy initiatives.

Disaggregated data

Funding appropriated for the operation of public schools including funding for school employee benefits, Standards of Quality, incentive-based programs, allotment of sales tax and lottery revenues and specific appropriations for programs such as Governor’s Schools and adult literacy initiatives.

Distance learning

Method of instruction in locations other than the classroom or places where teachers present the lessons, which uses various forms of technology to provide educational materials and experiences to students.

Dropouts

Students who leave high school before earning a diploma or other recognized credential, such as a GED.

E

Early childhood education

The education of young children, especially under the age of 5.

Economically disadvantaged

A student who is a member of a household that meets the income eligibility guidelines for free or reduced-price school meals (less than or equal to 185% of Federal Poverty Guidelines).

Elementary school

An elementary school a school with any combination of grades kindergarten through five.

Eligible students

The total number of students of school age enrolled in the school at a grade or course with a Standards of Learning test; does not include students who are allowed an exclusion such as some English language learners and some students with disabilities.

English as a second language (ESL)

A program of instruction and services for non-English-speaking or limited-English-proficient students to help them learn and succeed in schools.

English language learners (ELL)

A student whose first language is other than English and who is in a special program for learning English. The scores of English Language Learners enrolled in Virginia public schools fewer than 11 semesters may be excluded from the accreditation rating calculations. While all English Learners are expected to participate in the state assessment program, a school-based committee determines the level of participation of each English Language Learner.

English Proficiency

This chart displays the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations for achievement in English Reading and Writing during the three most recent years by performing at the proficient level or advanced level on Standards of Learning tests and other state assessments.

Enrollment

Enrollment is the number of students counted in membership by the school, the school division or the state.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 is the primary federal law affecting K-12 education. ESSA supersedes the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Exempted English Learners

Number of recently arrived English language learners exempted from state reading assessments

Expulsions

An expelled student is not be permitted to attend school for a period of 365 calendar days. Only a local school board has the authority to expel a student.

F

Fall Membership by Grade

Schools report annually on the number of students enrolled on September 30. This report, known as Fall Membership, is submitted by all schools that officially enroll students. Student counts are reported by grade assignment and ethnicity.

Federal Graduation Indicator

The Federal Graduation Indicator is a graduation rate reported to the U.S. Department of Education that counts as graduates only those students earning Advanced Studies or Standard Diplomas.

Four core subject/academic areas

English, mathematics, science and history/social science for purposes of SOL testing.

Four-Year Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate

The Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate expresses the percentage of students who earn a state Board of Education-approved diploma within four years of entering ninth grade for the first time. Percentages are based on longitudinal data and account for student mobility and retention practices.

Free and appropriate public education (FAPE)

Requirement through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that education of students with disabilities (between the ages of 3 and 22) must be provided at public expense, under public supervision, at no charge to the parents and based on the child’s unique needs and not on the child’s disability.

Free and reduced breakfast participation

The school breakfast program is a federally assisted meal program that provides nutritious breakfast meals to students. The Virginia Department of Education administers the program at the state level and school divisions administer the program at the local level. Student achievement and behavior improves when students are well nourished and ready to learn.

Free and reduced-price lunch participation

Student achievement and behavior improves when students are well nourished and ready to learn.  The National School Lunch Program is a U.S. Department of Agriculture assisted meal program that provides nutritionally balanced lunches to school-aged children.  Participating school divisions receive USDA cash subsidies and donated food items for each meal served that meets Federal nutrition standards and meal patterns.

Free reduced meal eligibility

At the beginning of each school year, letters and meal applications are distributed to households of children attending school. This letter informs households that school nutrition programs are available and that free and reduced-price meals are available based on income criteria. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents for lunch and 30 cents for breakfast. All children in divisions implementing the community eligibility provision are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

Fully Accredited

Elementary and middle schools are Fully Accredited if students achieve adjusted pass rates on state assessments of 75 percent or higher in English and 70 percent or higher in mathematics, science and history. High schools are Fully Accredited if students achieve adjusted pass rates of 75 percent or higher in English and 70 percent or higher in mathematics, science and history; and attain a point value of 85 or greater based on the Graduation and Completion Index.

Fully Accredited schools

This chart displays the percentage of schools meeting or exceeding the commonwealth’s minimum expectations for student achievement in English, mathematics, science and history/social science. Ratings for high schools also reflect the success of efforts to increase completion and graduation. Ratings are based on the achievement during the most recent academic year or on a three-year average of achievement.

G

General education

K-12 instruction that meets the commonwealth’s Standards of Learning and prepares children for elementary, secondary and postsecondary success.

Gifted

Programs that provide advanced educational opportunities including accelerated promotion through grades and classes and an enriched curriculum for students who are endowed with a high degree of mental ability.

Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence

The Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence is the highest award in the commonwealth’s Virginia Index of Performance school recognition program. To earn this award, schools and divisions must meet all state and federal achievement objectives and achieve all applicable excellence goals for elementary reading, enrollment in Algebra I by the eighth grade, enrollment in college-level courses, high school graduation, attainment of advanced diplomas, increased attainment of career and industry certifications, and, if applicable, participation in the Virginia Preschool Initiative.

Governor’s school

A school serving gifted high school students who meet specific admissions criteria for advanced educational opportunities in areas including the arts, government and international studies, mathematics, science, and technology; both academic-year and summer governor’s schools are offered.

Graduate

A student who has earned a Board of Education recognized diploma.

H

Highly qualified teachers

Virginia defines a highly qualified teacher as a teacher who is fully licensed by the commonwealth, has at least a bachelor’s degree, has demonstrated competency in each subject taught, and is teaching content in his or her area of endorsement.

Home instruction (also referred to as “home schooling”)

Instruction of a student or students by a parent or parents, guardian or other person having control or charge of such student or students as an alternative to attendance in a public or private school in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Virginia provisions (§22.1-254.1).

Home tutoring

Instruction by a tutor or teacher with qualifications prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education, as an alternative to attendance in a public or private school and approved by the division superintendent in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Virginia §22.1-254; often used as an alternative form of home schooling.

Home-based instruction

Non-reimbursable educational services provided in the home setting (or other agreed upon setting) in accordance with the student’s individual education program who were removed from school for disciplinary or other reasons, but not the result of a medical referral.

Homebound instruction

Academic instruction provided to students who are confined at home or in a health-care facility for periods that would prevent normal school attendance based upon certification of need by a licensed physician or licensed clinical psychologist. For a student with a disability, the Individual Education Program (IEP) team must determine the delivery of services, including the number of hours of services.

Honors and Awards

Honors and rewards earned by Virginia public schools and divisions and reported on School Quality Profiles include the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, the Board of Education Excellence Award, the Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award and National Blue Ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education.

Honors and Rewards

Honors and rewards earned by Virginia Public schools and divisions include the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, the Board of Education Excellence Award, the Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award and National Blue Ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education.

I

Individualized education program (IEP)

A written plan created for a student with disabilities by the student’s teachers, parents or guardians, the school administrator, and other interested parties. The plan is tailored to the student’s specific needs and abilities, and outlines attainable goals.

Individualized education program team (IEP Team)

Team charged with developing, reviewing and revising a student’s IEP and consisting of the parent(s), the child (if appropriate), a regular education teacher, a special education teacher, an administrator qualified to supervise the provision of services and an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results.

Individualized family service plan (IFSP)

A written plan outlining the procedure necessary to transition a child with disabilities to preschool or other appropriate services.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal law guiding the delivery of special education services for students with disabilities which includes the guarantee of “free and appropriate public education” for every school-age child with a disability and allows parental involvement in the educational planning process, encourages access to the general curriculum and delineates how school disciplinary rules and the obligation to provide a free appropriate public education for disabled children mesh.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

A program established to provide an internationally recognized; interdisciplinary; pre-collegiate course of study offered through the International Baccalaureate Organization, headquartered in Switzerland, and examination results are accepted by more than 100 countries for university admission.

L

Licensed clinical psychologist

A psychologist licensed by the Virginia Board of Psychology who must either be in a treatment relationship or establishing a treatment relationship with the student to meet eligibility requirements for requesting homebound services.

Licensed physician

An individual who has been licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine to practice medicine who can certify medical conditions for requesting homebound services.

Licensed teacher

An individual who has met all the current requirements for a teacher in the Virginia and holds a license from the Virginia State Board of Education, or, if teaching on-line, a license from Virginia or another state.

Limited-English proficient (LEP)

See English-language learners.

Linear weighted average

A calculation, approximating what most school divisions spend to operate their schools, used to establish the funded cost of many components of the Standards of Quality (SOQ), such as instructional salaries.

Literacy fundamentals

Kindergarten students are assessed on their knowledge of literacy fundamentals, including phonological awareness, alphabet recognition, concept of word, knowledge of letter sounds and spelling.

 

Literary fund

Established in the Constitution of Virginia (Article VIII, § 8) as a permanent and perpetual school fund that provides low-interest loans to school divisions for capital expenditures, such as construction of new buildings or remodeling of existing buildings.

Locally awarded verified credit

A verified unit of credit awarded by a local school board in accordance with the SOA.

Long Term Suspensions

A Long-Term suspension is a suspension of more than 10 school days and less than 365 calendar days. A long-term suspension is usually imposed by a school division disciplinary hearing officer upon recommendation of a principal.

M

Magnet school/center (also referred to as “specialty school/center”)

A public school that focuses on a particular area of study, such as performing arts or science and technology but also offer regular school subjects.

Mathematics Proficiency

This chart displays the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations for achievement in mathematics during the three most recent years by performing at the proficient level  or advanced level on Standards of Learning tests and other state assessments.

Middle school

A public school with grades 6 through 8.

Migrant Education

A program of instruction and services for children who move periodically with their families from one school to another in a different geographical area to secure seasonal employment.

N

Nation’s Report Card

See “National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)”.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (also referred to as “the Nation’s Report Card”)

The only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas including mathematics, reading, science, writing, U.S. history, geography, civics and the arts.

National Blue Ribbon Award

Honors public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior in their states or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement; awarded annually by the U.S. Department of Education through the Blue Ribbon Schools Program.

National Blue Ribbon School

National Blue Ribbon Schools are selected by the U.S. Department of Education based on one of two criteria: performance on state assessments; or performance in closing achievement gaps between student reporting categories.

O

On-Time Graduation Rate

This chart displays the percentage of students who earn a state Board of Education-approved diploma within four years of entering ninth grade for the first time. Percentages are based on longitudinal data and account for student mobility and retention practices.

Overall Fall Membership by Subgroup

The Virginia Department of Education annually collects statistics on the number of students enrolled in public schools on September 30. Student counts are reported by grade assignment, race, ethnicity, disability, English proficiency, and economic status.

 

P

Partially Accredited-Reconstituted School

This rating is applied to schools that fail to meet the requirements for full accreditation for four consecutive years and receive permission from the state Board of Education to reconstitute. A reconstituted school reverts to Accreditation Denied if it fails to meet full accreditation requirements within the agreed-upon term, or if it fails to have its annual application for Partially Accredited-Reconstituted School renewed by the state Board of Education.

Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark-GCI

This rating is applied to high schools (and combined schools with a graduating class) that have attained the adjusted pass rates on SOL tests required for full accreditation, and that are within one point of the Graduation and Completion Index (GCI) required for full accreditation.

Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark-Pass Rate

This rating is applied to schools that are not Fully Accredited, but that are within a two-point narrow margin of the adjusted pass rates on SOL tests required for full accreditation in one or more subject areas.

Partially Accredited: Improving School-GCI

This rating is applied to high schools that have attained the adjusted pass rates on SOL tests required for full accreditation, and that have improved their Graduation and Completion Index (GCI) by at least one point from the previous year, but that are not within a narrow margin of the GCI required for full accreditation.

Partially Accredited: Improving School-Pass Rate

This rating is applied to schools that are not Fully Accredited, and do not qualify for a rating of Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark-Pass Rate, but that are making acceptable progress toward full accreditation or that are raising the achievement of low-performing students.

Partially Accredited: Improving School-Pass Rate [1]

This rating is applied to schools that are not Fully Accredited, and do not qualify for a rating of Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark-Pass Rate, but that are meeting objectives for raising the achievement of low-performing students.

Partially Accredited: Warned School-Graduation and Completion Index

This rating is applied to high schools that achieve the adjusted SOL pass rates required for full accreditation but are not within a narrow margin of, nor making acceptable progress toward, achieving the graduation and completion index required for full accreditation.

Partially Accredited: Warned School-Pass Rate

This rating is applied to schools that are not within a narrow margin of, nor making acceptable progress toward, achieving the adjusted SOL pass rates required for full accreditation.

Per-Pupil Spending

The Virginia Department of Education reports annually on total and per-pupil expenditures for public school operations by fund source for each school division and statewide.

Percent of students absent

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent (approximately 18 days of a 180-day school year) or more of instructional days in a school year for any reason. Chronic absenteeism puts students at heightened risk of falling behind and dropping out of school.

Percentage of Expenditures for Instruction

Instructional expenditures include salaries and fringe benefits  for classroom teachers, instructional aides, librarians, school counselors, principals, and assistant principals; tuition for outside instructional services; and textbooks.

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)

State-provided K-3 screening tool to help reduce the number of children with reading problems by detecting those problems early and providing research-based, small-group intervention.

Portfolio

A collection of student work chosen to exemplify and document a student’s learning progress over time.

Postsecondary Enrollment

This chart displays the most recent available data on the percent of high school graduates who enrolled in a two- or four-year college within sixteen months of graduating. Data displayed correspond with the School Quality Profile selected for viewing (school, school division or state).

Proficient

Test results indicating that the student demonstrated the skills and knowledge outlined in the Standards of Learning (SOL).

Provisionally Licensed Teachers

This table reports the percentage of teachers teaching with provisional or provisional special education credentials.

R

Reconstitution

For a school rated accreditation denied, it is a process to initiate a range of accountability actions to improve pupil performance and to address deficiencies in curriculum and instruction; may include, but is not limited to, restructuring a school’s governance, instructional program staff or student population.

Regular school year

The period of time between the opening day of school in the fall and the closing day of school for that school term that is at minimum 180 teaching days or 990 teaching hours.

Remedial program

A program designed to remedy, strengthen and improve the academic achievement of students who demonstrate substandard performance.

Restructuring

The implementation of a new organizational pattern or style of leadership and management to bring about renewed, more effective schools. It can mean reorganizing the school day or year and changing conventional practices, such as grouping students by age for an entire school year or giving competitive grades. Or it may refer to changing the roles of teachers and administrators, allocating more decision-making power to teachers, and involving parents in decisions.

Reward School Status

Honors and rewards earned by Virginia Public schools and divisions include the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, the Board of Education Excellence Award, the Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award and National Blue Ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education.

S

Sampling

A way of estimating how a whole group would perform on a test by testing representative members of the group or giving different portions of the test to various subgroups.

SAT

One of the two commonly used tests designed to assess high school students’ general educational development and required for college entrance by many institutions of higher education; administered by the College Board.

School

A publicly funded institution where students are enrolled for all or a majority of the instructional day; those students are reported in fall membership at the institution and the institution, at minimum, meets requirements adopted by the Board of Education.

School age

A child who is age 5 on or before September 30 and has not reached age 20; compulsory attendance school age is 5-18.

School breakfast program

The school breakfast program is a federally assisted meal program that provides nutritious breakfasts to students. The Virginia Department of Education administers the program at the state level and school divisions administer the program at the local level.

Science Proficiency

This chart displays the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations for achievement in science during the three most recent years by performing at the proficient level or advanced level on Standards of Learning tests and other state assessments.

Secondary school

A public school with any grades 9 through 12.

Short Term Suspensions

A short-term suspension is a suspension of 10 school days or less.  A short-term suspension may be imposed by a principal, an assistant principal, or a designee teacher in the principal’s absence.

Social Studies Proficiency

This chart displays the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations for achievement in history and social science during the three most recent years by performing at the proficient or advanced level on Standards of Learning tests and other state assessments.

Sources of financial support and total per-pupil expenditures for operations

Operations include regular day school, food services, summer school, adult education, pre-kindergarten, and other education, but do not include non-regular day school programs, non-local education agency programs, debt service, or capital outlay additions.

Sources of Financial Support for Educational Expenditures

The apportionment of the state funds for public education is the responsibility of the General Assembly, through the Appropriations Act. General fund appropriations serve as the mainstay of state support for the commonwealth’s public schools, augmented by retail sales and use tax revenues, state lottery proceeds, and other sources.

Counties, cities and towns comprising school divisions also support public education by providing the locality’s share to maintain an educational program meeting the commonwealth’s Standards of Quality and local match requirements for incentive and lottery-funded programs. .

While public education is primarily a state and local responsibility, the federal government provides assistance to state and local education agencies in support of specific federal initiatives and mandates.

Special education

A service especially designed and at no cost to the parent/guardian that adapts the curriculum, materials or instruction for students identified as having educational or physical disabilities and tailored to each student’s needs and learning style and provided in a general education or special education classroom, home, hospital, separate school or other setting.

Specialty school

See “magnet school/center”.

Standard school day

A calendar day that averages at least five and one-half instructional hours for students in grades 1-12, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three instructional hours for students in kindergarten.

Standard school year

A school year of at least 180 teaching days or a total of at least 990 teaching hours per year.

Standard unit of credit

Earned credit based on a minimum of 140-clock hours of instruction and successful completion of the requirements of the course.

Standardized testing

Tests administered and scored under uniform (standardized) conditions. Because most machine-scored, multiple-choice tests are standardized, the term is sometimes used to refer to such tests, but other tests may also be standardized.

Standards of Accreditation (SOA)

The Board of Education’s regulations establishing criteria for approving public schools in Virginia as authorized in the Standards of Quality (SOQ).

Standards of Accreditation (SOA) Offenses Data

Virginia’s accreditation standards require school report cards to include information about school safety. The Offense Categories that are listed are the same as the offense categories defined in the Safe Schools Information Resource (SSIR) available on the VDOE Web Site.

Standards of Learning (SOL)

The minimum grade-level and subject-matter educational objectives, described as the knowledge and skills “necessary for success in school and for preparation for life,” that students are expected to meet in Virginia public schools and specified by the Standards of Quality (SOQ).

Standards of Quality (SOQ)

The minimum program that every public school division in Virginia must meet; a major portion of state funding for direct air to public education is based on the SOQ; the standards are established in the Constitution of Virginia, defined in the Code of Virginia and prescribed by the Board of Education, subject to revision only by the General Assembly.

State Accreditation Results

Data reflect achievement on Standards of Learning tests and other approved assessments and, for high schools, graduation and completion. Accreditation ratings are based on performance during the previous academic year, or on a three-year or four year average of achievement.

State Accreditation Status

Accreditation ratings reflect the progress of schools toward meeting the commonwealth’s expectations for student learning in English, mathematics, science and history/social science. Ratings are based on the achievement of students on tests taken during the previous academic year or on a three-year or four-year average of achievement. Ratings for high schools also reflect the success of efforts to increase completion and graduation.

Student

A child age 5 on or before September 30 up to age 18; a child with disabilities age 2-21; a child of limited English proficiency who entered a Virginia school after age 12 but not age 22.

Student Achievement by Proficiency Level

The Virginia Assessment Program includes Standards of Learning tests and other statewide assessments in English reading and writing, history/social science, mathematics, and science. The chart below provides information for the three most recent years on the achievement of students on these tests, including percentages of students who demonstrate proficiency and advanced proficiency. The default view is overall performance in the content area. Use the drop down menu to select a specific grade-level or end-of-course test. Use the menu below the chart to view results for a specific student population.

Student periods

Means the number of students a teacher instructs per class period multiplied by the number of class periods taught.

Student-teacher ratio

Teaching positions include classroom, home bound, media, and technology instructional teachers.

Substitute tests

Tests approved by the Board of Education as substitutes for SOL end-of-course tests for awarding verified credit for high school; examples include Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), SAT II, as well as a number of certifications and licensing examinations in career and technical fields.

T

Teacher education attainment

The Virginia Department of Education reports annually on the percentage of teachers with bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees in schools, school divisions, and the state by highest degree earned.

Title I

Federal funding program authorized by Title I of ESEA/NCLB to support instructional needs of students from low-income families to ensure that all children have a fair and equal opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach (at a minimum) proficiency on state academic achievement standards and assessments.

Title I Improvement Status

Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, authorizes financial assistance to schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. Under the federal law, the lowest-performing Title I schools are designated as either Priority or Focus schools and are subject to specific state interventions to improve student outcomes.

Title I school

A school with a high rate of disadvantaged students making it eligible for participation in federal Title I programs.

To Be Determined

The accreditation status of schools that fail to meet the requirements for full accreditation for four consecutive years and are seeking state Board of Education permission to reconstitute is reported as “To Be Determined” until the board makes a decision. The accreditation status of schools seeking a renewal of a Partially Accredited-Reconstituted School rating also is reported as To Be Determined until the state Board makes a decision.

Transfer students

The scores of students transferring within a Virginia school division are included in the calculation of state accreditation ratings. Students transferring into a school from another Virginia school division, another state, a private school, or who have been home schooled are expected to take the assessments for the content areas in which they received instruction. Under limited circumstances as described in Board of Education regulations, the failing scores of some transfer students may be excluded from the accreditation calculation.

V

Verified unit of credit

Earned credit based on a standard unit of credit, plus a passing score on the end-of-course SOL test or substitute test approved by the Board of Education.

Virginia assessment program

Means a system used to evaluate student achievement that includes SOL tests and additional tests which may be approved from time to time by the Board of Education.

Virginia Preschool Initiative

Program providing state funds to schools and community organizations for quality preschool programs for at-risk four-year olds not served by federal programs such as Head Start or Title I.

Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning

A measurable range of skills and knowledge essential for four-year-olds to be successful in kindergarten.

Vocational

A school or center organized for a program that offers a sequence of courses that are directly related to the preparation of individuals for paid or unpaid employment in current or emerging occupations requiring other than a baccalaureate or advanced diploma.