The following are excerpts from a recent Lynchburg News Advance article highlighting the improvements made by Virginia special education students on their yearly assessments.
"The Lynchburg City School Board heard good news this week on end-of-year assessments for special education students.
"According to administrators, 99 percent of students passed the Virginia Alternative Assessments, and administrators anticipate that 96 percent of students will pass the state grade-level alternative assessments.
Both assessments provide disabled students with alternatives to taking the Standards of Learning exams. The assessments provide a different way to evaluate their learning.
"Administrators and School Board members praised special education teachers after the results were announced.
"Of those students who took the alternative assessments, 79 percent were rated advanced proficient, 20 percent proficient and 1 percent in need of improvement.
"The alternative assessments evaluate the performance of students with disabilities. These students learn a functional curriculum focusing on goals such as improving quality of life and preparing for employment and independent living.
"On the grade-level assessments, administrators expect 155 of the 161 students to pass. The official numbers will not be available until the Department of Education completes its audit of the work submitted by the city.
The grade-level assessment was created for students with disabilities in grade 3, 5 and 8 who are not eligible to take the alternative assessments and who cannot take the Standards of Learning exam.
"These students are studying on grade level, but when taking the paper-and-pencil SOL exam, would not be able to demonstrate proficiency even if accommodations were made. Instead of testing, these students and their teachers compile a collection of work samples to demonstrate that the student is performing on grade level for that SOL."
"Steve Smith, Lynchburg City Schools assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said that the results will impact accreditation and Adequate Yearly Progress measures.
"‘It was a tremendous effort and it looks very good for us,’ he said."
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