News from Nebraska and Virginia

K-12 Testing

In Nebraska, the Attorney General’s office said the state Department of Education could not require testing to measure how well the state’s learning standards are being met, and that a move to mandate the adoption of “voluntary” standards would be unconstitutional.


Calling the state’s reading, writing, math, science and social studies standards too vague, Assistant Attorney General Charlotte Koranda also advised against using school test results to sanction or reward schools and students. A bill in the legislature would replace the current law mandating a single statewide test with a school-based assessment plan.


Virginia’s Board of Education gave preliminary approval to a proposal to allow students with strong academic records who fail any of the required state Standards of Learning tests to obtain a normal diploma. However, critics point out that Board members have indicated that such students still will have to obtain acceptable scores on other standardized tests. Barring major changes, very large numbers of students will continue to fail the SOL exams when they become mandatory for graduation in 2004. The Board will vote to finalize the new regulations in July, after a period for public comment.