Virginia Department of Education logo

Growth Assessments

Growth Assessments/Standards of Learning - 2022-23 Updates for Families

The Virginia Department of Education continues to adjust the required assessment practices based on current legislation. 

The purpose of the legislation and the VDOE assessments is to collect data points for each student related to the SOLs throughout the year. This will help schools ensure that students are progressing, and that there are no learning gaps present. FCCPS will monitor these data points within the full International Baccalaureate instructional framework to make sure students are progressing at the appropriate pace. 

During the 2022-23 school year students in grades 3-8 will be tested in math and reading three times: a Growth Assessment in the fall, a Growth Assessment in the winter and the Standard of Learning (SOL) assessment in the Spring. These required assessments are only for students who are NOT in End of Course SOL classes (End of course classes are classes that earn a credit toward graduation). With three assessment periods, the State has modified the assessments to make them shorter in length. Most contain fewer than 25 questions.

FAQs about Growth Assessments/Standards of Learning

When are the FCCPS Growth Assessments/SOL windows?


Fall Growth Assessment: 9/6/22-9/30/22

Winter Growth Assessment: 12/5/22-12/16/23

Standards of Learning Assessment: 5/8/23-5/26/23

Are Growth Assessments required? 

Answer: Yes. Beginning with the second year of implementation (2022-2023) and beyond, the legislation requires that the grades 3-8 reading and mathematics Growth Assessments will be administered to students once in the fall and once in the winter (mid-year) during the school year. In addition to the Growth Assessments, the SOL tests for grade 3-8 reading and mathematics will continue to be administered.

What does the Growth Assessment cover?

Answer: Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, the fall and winter Growth Assessments will focus primarily on content from the student’s current grade level. However, in compliance with the 2021 legislation, depending on the student’s responses to the on-grade-level content items, students might be administered some items from below or above the current grade level. There are several exceptions to the potential administration of off-grade level test items, including items above the 8th grade reading and below 3rd grade level.

Will off-grade level items be included on SOL assessments?

Answer: As required by the 2021 legislation, beginning in spring 2023, the grades 3-8 reading and mathematics computer adaptive SOL tests may also include off-grade-level content. These items will NOT impact student’s SOL scores but will be included in the vertical scale score (more information about this scale will be provided by the State in the near future). 

Can I see the items that will be on the assessment?

Answer: Parents cannot review the exact questions that students will see but they can see the type of question by reviewing the VDOE SOL Test BluePrints (scroll to Blueprint links). 

How long are students given to take the Growth Assessments/SOLs?

Answer: Beginning in fall 2022, the grade 3-8 reading and mathematics growth assessments and the spring 2023 SOL tests are to be administered in one day. As these are new assessment formats, the exact timing is not certain, but FCCPS anticipates a 60-120 minute time frame based on previous assessments. After the fall Growth Assessments, FCCPS will have a more accurate picture of timing.

How can I see my student’s scores? 

Answer: VDOE has developed the Virginia Assessment Parent Portal. The Parent Portal is a web-based system that allows parents to access their child’s Grades 3-8 Reading and Mathematics Growth Assessment and SOL assessment data, including the parent report and the Student Detail by Question (SDBQ) report. FCCPS will participate in the Virginia Assessment Parent Portal and information on sign up and use can be found here.

Notes on Growth Assessments:

Growth Assessments are similar to SOL assessments in format and content but are much shorter (about 25 questions on average per assessment).  It is important to note that Growth Assessments:

  1. Are NOT High Stakes

  2. Have no passing or failing scores.

  3.  Are designed to provide teachers with insight and baseline data about each student.

  4. Do not need student preparation. 

  5. Will not be taken by students taking an end of course SOL in the spring

  6. Will not be taken by students who are working toward the VAAP assessment.

For further information from the State related to Growth Assessments, please visit the VDOE Growth Assessment website.

Grades Taking the Assessment: Grades 3-8 (excluding students in End of Course courses).

Dates for Growth Assessments: September – Early October and December-January Note: SOLs will occur in the spring as in past years. Specific Dates can be found on the FCCPS Assessment Calendar.

What to expect during the assessment: Growth tests are given in school, typically online. Students use school-issued laptop computers. Most tests take under an hour. Growth Assessments are untimed.  If a student needs more time, it is granted. See our accommodations tab (coming soon)to see which accommodations are available on the SOLs. 

Practice links: No practice necessary. If you would like to see item types, please click here.

What Do the Scores Mean? Staff will receive a Growth Assessment Student Detail By Question (SDBQ) report for each student. The report shows which item types in each reporting category (SOL content standards) the student answered correctly and incorrectly, sorted by highest level difficulty to the lowest level. Item descriptors are not unique to a single item but give staff data on SOL strands for individual students. The Purpose of the score report are:

  • Expedited Retakes: the focus is on intervention or remediation on skills and content already taught 

  • Fall Growth: the focus is readiness and skills needed for current grade-level instruction yet to occur

  • What data will provide additional information about your students’ understanding of prerequisite skills and content?

  • What evidence will you look for that will show you that students have learned prerequisite skills and content?

  • If evidence shows students are approaching proficiency but not there yet, how will you scaffold current grade-level instruction?

  • Important! These data cannot be used in isolation to determine mastery of content.

  • Review the SOL the item measures in addition to the item descriptor. Review related SOL to provide a comprehensive approach to reading and mathematics instruction.

  • Consider other assessment data (formative and summative) in conjunction with the SDBQ data.

Resources based on the results: Please contact your student’s teacher for more information on SOL instruction.