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Young students who fail the SOL will be allowed to take them again

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RICHMOND, Va. — Elementary and middle school students who fail the spring Standards of Learning (SOL) tests — by narrow margins or because of extenuating circumstances — will be allowed to re-take the test after the State Board of Education voted to  expedited retakes of SOL tests for students in grades three through eight.

“The elementary and middle school SOLs are not high-stakes tests for students but the board wants to be responsive to students who want a second chance to demonstrate proficiency before the end of the school year,” Board of Education President Christian N. Braunlich said in a statement. “At the same time, after hearing stories of student anxiety over SOL testing, we want to ensure that we don’t add any further to student stress.”

Parents must first give the school permission to re-test their child and schools are required to tell parents their decision will not impact their child’s final grade. The students not eligible for a re-test are those who failed the eighth-grade writing test.

“In addition to failing by a narrow margin or having an extenuating circumstance, a student must have passed the associated subject or course to be eligible for an expedited retake,” a Board of Education spokesman wrote.

This year the General Assembly signed off on plans to let younger students re-take non-writing SOL tests, but that legislative action does not go into effect until July. The board’s vote on last week allowed for the re-takes to begin this spring.

“I am delighted that we were able to identify funds to make expedited retakes for elementary and middle school students possible this year,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said in a statement.

High schools students have been allowed to retake their SOL since 2000.