Martinsville Bulletin: Virginia overhauls school accreditation system

Martinsville Bulletin: Virginia overhauls school accreditation system

November 17, 2017

By Brian Carlton & Mickey Powell

MARTINSVILLE-For years, local residents have said they want more than just test scores taken into account when it comes to a school’s accreditation status. On Thursday, the Virginia Board of Education agreed, signing off on multiple changes to the process, as well as restructuring the requirements needed to earn a high school diploma.

“I think parents will be pleased with the approved changes,” said Kim Adkins. The former Martinsville mayor and former president of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce serves on the board and voted in favor of the changes.

Right now, a school’s accreditation status is based on how students perform on the Standards of Learning tests. At least 75 percent of the school’s students must pass the English test, including both reading and writing. In math, science, history and social studies, at least 70 percent must pass to be accredited.

Under the new standards, that will change. Schools will be judged on a number of factors. In addition to test scores, the state will take into account improvement from one year to the next in English, math and science. The Virginia Department of Education will also look at a school’s dropout rate, absenteeism (how many days students miss in a year) and if a school’s students appear to be ready for college or a career after taking the classes.

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