Certain high school students need additional verified credit to graduate
State Guidance for Student-Selected Tests
Students who entered ninth grade for the first time in 2017-18 or prior are required to earn one (1) "student-selected" credit beyond those needed for specific academic content areas. The Virginia Board of Education defines graduation requirements for each entering ninth grade class, including requirements for verified credits. A verified credit is earned when a student passes a course and passes the associated end-of-course Standards of Learning (SOL) test. For more information on verified credits and how students can earn them, select a ninth grade entry year from the Graduation and Requirements and Course Planning webpage.
Student-Selected Test Decisions
Based on guidance from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), students and their parents or guardians may provide input on which SOL test(s) students will take to earn the student-selected credits. At the same time, schools must ensure that testing decisions do not limit students' opportunities to earn verified credits for graduation.
School staff work to communicate testing plans to students and their parents or guardians, including opportunities for student-selected SOL tests. Parents and guardians are encouraged to talk with their high school students about their planned assessments and to contact their school counselors with any questions or concerns.
What Parents Should Know About Student-Selected Tests
The following are important points for parents and guardians to understand about student-selected tests for verified credit.
- Student-selected test decisions only apply to students who entered ninth grade for the first time in 2017-18 or prior and only apply to decisions about SOL tests.
- In 2020-21 only, Virginia has introduced flexibility that allows a student to postpone some SOL tests until a later time. This option may appeal to students and families who have difficulty testing this year due to the school operational status. However, postponing the test will not change the number of verified credits the student needs to graduate. Any student planning to graduate in the Class of 2021 should be cautious about using this test flexibility. More information is available about FCPS policies for test participation and refusal.
- The number of assessments students have available as options for student-selected tests each year depends on their current course enrollment and what verified credits they have already earned from previous courses. Some students may not have any student-selected tests available for the year. Other students may have one (1), two (2), three (3), or more tests that could fulfill the student-selected credit graduation requirement.
- VDOE guidance requires that once students earn a passing score on one (1) student-selected SOL test, no further student-selected tests will appear in their academic records. When students are scheduled for two (2) or more student-selected tests, school staff monitor SOL test results and make every effort to cancel any other scheduled student-selected tests when students earn a passing score. However, there may be cases when the earlier test results are not available in time to adjust students' testing schedules and they may inadvertently take test(s) that are not required. In these situations, the VDOE will remove the extra student-selected test results from students' test records, and these scores will not appear in final score reports.