Revised Standards of Accreditation
Posted on 08/26/2018
Principal Wright standing with a couple of her students at Lincoln Terrace Elementary

This academic year marks the implementation of major enhancements to the commonwealth’s school accreditation standards. The revisions to the Standards of Accreditation , approved by the state Board of Education in November 2017, are designed to provide a more comprehensive view of school quality, place increased on emphasis on closing achievement gaps and encourage continuous improvement for all schools.

“The revised accreditation system is a significant improvement and will provide a more holistic evaluation of school quality,” Lane said. “It includes multiple factors to comprehensively evaluate Virginia’s schools, requires continuous improvement for every school, shines a light on the needs of all students and ensures tailored and effective support for schools needing assistance. Our ultimate goal is for every Virginia student to attend a school that maximizes their potential.”   

Beginning with the ratings for 2018-2019 — that will be announced next month — schools under the new accountability system will be scored on multiple school quality indicators as performing at one of three levels: Level One (at or above standard), Level Two (near standard or improving) or Level Three (below standard).

Schools with all indicators at Level One or Level Two will be rated as “Accredited.” Schools with one or more indicators at Level Three will be rated as “Accredited with Conditions.”  Only schools that fail to implement state-required improvement plans would be rated as “Accreditation Denied” under the new system. Corrective action plans and state interventions currently in place for the state's lowest-performing schools will remain in effect.

“The purpose of school quality measurement is to highlight those places where improvement is needed, not to put a label on a school,” Board of Education President Daniel A. Gecker said. “The revised Standards of Accreditation allow for a closer look at specific areas of concern, such as narrowing of achievement gaps.  This will enable local jurisdictions to focus resources where they are most needed to provide a high-quality education for all school children in the commonwealth.”

Under the new system, school quality indicators for English and mathematics will recognize the growth of students not meeting state benchmarks but achieving significant growth towards grade-level proficiency on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. English learners making progress towards English-language proficiency are also included in the calculation. 

Absenteeism now impacts accreditation.  The state makes no distinction between excused and unexcused absences.  If a student misses more than 10% of the school year, it is considered chronic absenteeism.  Last year, more than 17.46% of all RCPS students were considered chronically absent.  We must ALL work together to reduce chronic absenteeism.  We want your child to be in school.  It is difficult to teach students who are absent.

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