Cville, Albemarle Schools Work to Change Student Assessment

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Charlottesville and Albemarle County schools are working to change 25 years of student assessment. School leaders met at Buford Middle School Monday to discuss a program called project-based learning.

The idea is to move away from Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments that require students to recall information, and toward projects that require them to apply it. They say SOL tests are too one-dimensional in their analysis of a students' ability, and this new method could change that for the better.

Albemarle County and Charlottesville school leaders are saying SOL tests are things of the past.

"It's testing what education was 20 years ago, not what education needs to be for the 21st Century, for our students, for their future,” said Steve Koleszar, Albemarle County School Board chairman.

The school systems are not alone in asking that the Standards of Learning tests be emphasized a little less.  Of 133 public schools in Virginia, 45 have passed a resolution to take another look at school assessments.

Buford Middle School Principal Eric Johnson says it's just common sense, "it's gaining some attention now, but it makes sense and the more comfortable teachers become with it, then I think you're going to see it more frequently.”

The ultimate goal is to convince the Virginia General Assembly during their January session. Tuesday, Albemarle County schools will meet with Delegate David Toscano who has already voiced his support for the plan.

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