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Central VA Schools Miss Federal Testing Mark - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Central VA Schools Miss Federal Testing Mark

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Two Albemarle County Schools and six others in central Virginia missed making the grade according to federal rating systems. As a result, they fell to the bottom 15 percent of schools in Virginia based on these scores.

The federal ratings called annual measurable objectives, or AMOs, are at odds with the state rating system of Standards of Learning tests passage rates - and that's causing some confusion.

"Schools that far exceed the benchmarks will be considered not to have met AMO," said Phil Giaramita, spokesperson for Albemarle County Public Schools.

A Virginia Department of Education report says the schools that don't meet annual measurable objectives in Albemarle County are Scottsville and Woodbrook elementaries. And there are six others in central Virginia including Greene Primary and Nathanael Greene in Greene County, Moss-Nuckols in Louisa, Carysbrook in Fluvanna and Buckingham County Elementary School and Buckingham County Primary School.

The confusing part is that schools that do satisfy state accreditation requirements with SOL passage rates fall below federal AMO ratings.

"This past spring we, Ablemarle County, met the benchmarks or exceeded the state average on tests 75 percent of the time and this is historically been the test," said Giaramita.

But the federal AMO system divides students into subgroups called "gap groups." One is African-American students, another is economically disadvantaged, disabled and limited-English-speaking students and a third includes Hispanic students.

"For the gap groups, we did meet them in all of our schools, the places where we didn't meet them are in some of those gap groups that are listed individually," said Beth Baptist, student achievement director of Charlottesville City Schools.

Scottsville's economically disadvantaged demographic met only 35 of 36 categories. Woodbrook had issues in the same demographic groups and an African-American subgroup.

Charlottesville met the gap group benchmarks but failed to meet standards on some of the individual criteria.

Some of these schools are now required to bring in an outside coach to devise a strategy.

"There is room for improvement everywhere," said Baptist.

Some of the schools that need help will receive funding to get that help. Others will be required to come up with a plan of their own.

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