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Social studies SOLs to be replaced with projects


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Starting next year with the class of 2022, the Virginia Board of Education plans to replace Standard of Learning tests (SOLs) with projects. In previous years and including this year, a social studies SOL is required to graduate high school, but for the eighth graders at the middle school, they have changed the game. Social studies teacher Kirk Moyers teaches both world history and works with social studies SOL’s. Moyers has put input into the new plan.

“What they’ve done [for current eighth-graders], is they have significantly reduced the number of SOLs across the board. Next year, what that means, is that they will have to pass one math SOL, one science SOL and the english is pretty much the same. For social studies, it will be considered a local verified credit on a local alternative assessment,” Moyers said.

Next year, social studies teachers will create projects that reflect a reporting category in history. Categories will include early man through China, Greece to Rome, Egypt, geography, etc. To earn the credit, teachers will be in charge of grading the projects and signing off that the student does know the information of the category which will replace the SOL.

Although the specifics of how the project will run and how the grading process will be, the idea of replacing SOLs with projects is not new.

“We actually have been pushing away from giving SOL tests for the past five years because the tests have gotten to the point that it’s become trivial pursuit… There’s nothing about whether if you know about cause and effect relationship or know [other skills],” Moyers said.

As a history teacher, Moyers agrees with the new replacement after seeing the scores of some of his students.

“I’m happy about it because I feel like there are a bunch of kids who are not passing the SOL and actually know the stuff or know the big picture items,” Moyers said. “It could be the wording of tests, it could be vocabulary.”

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Social studies SOLs to be replaced with projects