SOL Tests in Elementary and Middle Schools

SOL assessments are used in grades 3-8 for federal and state accountability

Under Virginia law, students in grades 9-12 are expected to take part in the Virginia Assessment Program to assess the Virginia Standards of Learning, or SOLs. The assessments used to fulfill this requirement look differently based on the grade level and content area. 

  • Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in reading and writing, mathematics, and science.
  • Virginia Growth Assessments (VGA) in reading and mathematics.
  • Local Alternative Assessments (LAA) in social studies.

SOL Tests Within the Virginia Assessment Program

SOL tests are the main part of the Virginia Assessment Program for grades 3-8 and are administered each spring. SOL tests are used to fulfill state and federal testing requirements in reading and writing, mathematics, and science. Most students in grades 3-8 take SOL tests for reading and math each year, with science tests and integrated reading and writing components administered in the fifth and eighth grades.

All students in grades 3-8 are expected to participate in SOL tests unless they meet specific state criteria, such as students with disabilities eligible to participate in the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP)

About the Integrated Reading and Writing (IRW) Component

Students taking the grade 5 or grade 8 SOL Reading test will complete an integrated reading and writing (IRW) component. The IRW component of the SOL Reading test has with one non-fiction reading passage followed by 4-6 of multiple-choice/technology-enhanced items and an “invitation to write” based on the passage.  

Parents/guardians may choose to refuse participation in the IRW component while still agreeing for their student to participate in the required SOL Reading test. The IRW component does not fulfill federal participation requirements or influence school accountability calculations. 

Notification of Testing

Divisions have the responsibility to notify families about required state assessments at each student's grade level. The notification letters outlines state guidelines for which students will take SOL tests each year. 

The FCPS annual notification of testing for grade 3-8 state assessments can be accessed below with printable PDFs, including translations.  

Full Text LETTER: Grade 3-8 State Assessment Notification of Testing (Top of Printed Letter)

Full Text of Letter (Grades 3-8)

The following provides content from the division's state assessment notification of testing and SOL retest permission form for families of students in grades 3-8. Links to printable PDF translations are also included below. 

NOTIFICATION OF TESTING AND RETEST PERMISSION FORM

UPDATE OCTOBER 2023 - State Assessments, Grades 3-8

Dear Parents and Guardians:

State assessments measure the extent to which students have learned the content and skills reflected in state standards and may also be used to measure growth in learning state standards. The format and timing of state assessments vary by grade level and content area, as noted in the table below. These include:

  • Fall and winter Virginia Growth Assessments (VGA) standardized tests in reading and mathematics. More information is available on the VGA webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/node/43932);  
  • Spring Standards of Learning (SOL) standardized tests in reading, mathematics, and science. For certain grade levels, the reading SOL tests includes an integrated reading/writing (IRW) component. More information is available on the SOL assessments webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/node/35021); 
  • Ongoing local alternative assessments (LAAs) including performance-based assessments (PBAs) completed as part of classroom instruction in science, and social studies; More information is available on the LAA and PBA webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/node/45043).  
Grade

VGA Content Areas Tested

(Fall and Winter)

SOL Content Areas Tested

(Spring)

LAA Content Areas Tested

(Ongoing)

3 Reading, Mathematics Reading, Mathematics Science, Social Studies
4 Reading, Mathematics Reading, Mathematics Social Studies
5 Reading, Mathematics Science, Reading with IRW, Mathematics Not applicable
6 Reading, Mathematics* Reading, Mathematics Social Studies
7 Reading, Mathematics* Reading, Mathematics Social Studies
8 Reading, Mathematics* Science, Reading with IRW, Mathematics Social Studies

    * VGA tests are not available for students enrolled in a high school credit-bearing math course, such as Algebra 1.

The Grade Level Tests webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/student-assessment/grade-level-tests) provides information by grade level about the general assessment schedule and reporting method for each required assessment type in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). School staff will contact you with the specific dates your student is scheduled to take the standardized VGA and SOL assessments. If you have questions about state assessments, contact your student’s teacher or the school test coordinator.

Full Text FORM: SOL Permission to Retest Form (Bottom of Printed Letter)

SOL Parent/Guardian Permission to Retest Form

The Virginia Board of Education allows elementary and middle school students who fail their spring Standards of Learning (SOL) tests by a narrow margin to retake the test before the end of the school year. Retesting is available when a student fails their first SOL attempt with a score of 375-399. (A score of 400 is considered passing for SOL tests.) Note that retests are not offered for fall or winter Virginia Growth Assessment (VGA) tests or for the integrated reading/writing (IRW) component of the grade 5 and grade 8 SOL reading tests

Parent/guardian permission is required for the school to retest any student in grades 3-8. If you believe that your student would benefit from a second opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills on the spring SOL test, please complete this permission form and return it to the school. A decision not to allow retesting will not impact your student’s course grade or academic record.

Directions: Return this permission form to your student’s teacher or the school test coordinator no later than ________________________. A form must be returned for each student in grades 3-8.

Student’s Name _____________  FCPS ID #_____  Grade Level _____

Parent’s/Guardian’s Name (Printed) ___________________________

Parent’s/Guardian’s Signature ___________________ Date __________

 _____    No,  do not retest my student if their spring SOL score is between 375 and 399. I understand that this decision will not impact my student’s course grade or academic record.

_____     Yes, provide my student with the opportunity to retake any spring SOL tests if they score between 375 and 399.

_____     Yes,  provide my student with the opportunity to retake only the following spring SOL tests if they score between 375 and 399 (see table above for the available SOL content areas at the student’s grade level):

     ___________________________________________________________

PRINTABLE PDF Translations: Grade 3-8 State Assessment Notification of Testing

Printable PDFs of letter notifying families of state assessments in grades 3-8, including permission form for SOL retests

Test Facts: SOL Tests in Grades 3-8

Click on the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below to find answers about SOL tests in elementary and middle schools. 

FIND OUT ABOUT GRADE 9-12 SOL TESTS

SOL Tests in High Schools

HOW ARE TEST RESULTS REPORTED TO FAMILIES?

SOL Grade 3-8 Results