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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.

 

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.

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.