The following state required assessments are administered throughout the year:

    Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS): Grades K-3

    • Assesses phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, letter/sound knowledge, concept of word, and word recognition in isolations at the kindergarten level. 
    • Assesses word knowledge, oral reading in context, alphabetic and phonemic awareness at grades K -3. Please download the assessment plan to understand when and which students take the PALS assessment.
    • For more information specific to this assessmen, click here: http://pals.virginia.edu/


    Virignia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP)

    • Originates from the University of Virginia, and it assesses children entering kindergarten in areas of math, self-regulation, and social skills.  The VKRP also provides integrated performance reports of kindergarten entry-skills and recommended resources at the student and classroom levels. 
    • For more information specific to this assessment, click here: http://www.vkrponline.org/ 


    Assessing Comprehension & Communication in English State-to-State (ACCESS): Grades K-12

    • Required assessment for all students who are identified as English Learners (EL) in levels 1 through 5 regardless of whether they are being served or have waived services.
    • For more information specific to this assessment, click here: http://www.wida.us/assessment/ACCESS/


    Standards of Learning (SOL) State Assessments: Grades 3-8 and High School Level Courses

    • Administered in grades 3 through 8 and high school level courses in the subject areas of English, mathematics, science and history/social science. 
    • Used as part of the state's accountability system and to inform parents and teachers about what students are learning in relation to the Standards of Learning.
    • Administered online and students with Individualized Education Programs/504 Plans and/or English Learner Assessment Plans are provided state approved accommodations.
    • High school level tests are referred to as End-Of-Course (EOC) SOL tests.  State law only permits students to take an EOC SOL test if it is required to meet a graduation requirement or required to meet federal accountability requirements.  If a student is in an EOC SOL tested course and does not need to take the EOC SOL test to satisfy a graduation requirement or a federal accountability requirement, the student will not be permited to take the test.  If a parent still wants his/her child to take the unnecessary SOL test, the parent may submit the "Opt-In" form by clicking here. If your child take an EOC SOL test as an "Opt-In" test, the EOC SOL test cannot be used to satify a final exam exemption condition for the linked course.  The score will also be backed out of all school level results.
    • In grades 3 through 8, the grade level reading and math SOL tests are adaptive assessments known as Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT). The CAT test is an assessment that is customized for every student. A student's response on one questions determines the difficulty of the next item. Click here to learn more about the state's CAT testing: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/test_administration/cat/index.shtml
    • For additional information about SOL testing, click here: www.doe.virginia.gov/index.shtml
    • SOL practice items and resources click here: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/practice_items/testnav8.shtml 


    Virginia Alternative Assessment (VAAP): Grades 3-8 and Grade 11

    • Used to evaluate the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities.
    • Used as part of the state's accountability system and to inform parents and teachers about what students are learning in relation to the Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOLs).
    • Compilation of student work samples and artifacts in the areas of reading, writing, math, science and history/social studies.
    • For more information specific to this assessment, click here: www.doe.virginia.gov/index.shtml


    Local Alternative Assessment (LAA)


    State Assessment Matrix

    Below is an explanation of the state assessments and purpose each one has in the instructional program.






    Time of Year

    Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

    How is the datum used?

    Time required to Complete.

    Who Uses the Data?

    Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)


    Early Literacy Screener for intervention


    Fall & Spring

    (Winter optional)

    · Fall and Spring Benchmark Score

    · RtI

    · Used for planning targeted instruction

    · Approximately 90 minutes per student

    · RtI Committee uses it for early identification

    · Teachers


    Fall – All students


    Winter - Optional progress monitoring window


    Spring - All students


    Fall – Students new to MCPS, all 2nd grade students who did not achieve the “high benchmark” status in spring of 1st grade, or students who received summer invention. Winter - Optional progress monitoring window.


    Spring - All 2nd grade students without a "high benchmark score".  Not required for 3rd grade students.

    VKRP Kindergarten Readiness Program


    · Math

    · Social Skills

    · Self-Regulation


    Only kindergarten students

    · Fall

    · RtI

    -Planning instruction

    · Used for planning targeted instruction

    · Approximately 90 minutes per student

    · RtI Committee uses it for early identification

    · Teachers

    ACCESS Testing


    Assess language acquisition skills

    Gr K -12 English Learner Students Only

    Jan – Mar

    · Overall Composite Score

    · Determine EL service level

    · Identify student exiting EL services

    · Inform instruction

    · PLC

    · Teachers

    · Academic Coaches

    · Principals

    Standards of Learning (SOL) Tests


    Gr 3 - 12

    Gr 3 - 12

    EOC – Fall, Spring, & Summer

    Gr 3 - 8 Spring

    · Scaled Score

    · Pass Rates

    · Strand Score


    · Official state measure of student achievement

    · Approximately 90 – 180 minutes

    · PLC

    · Teachers

    · Academic Coaches

    · Principals

    Local Alternative Assessment


    (Combination of multiple-choice, short answer, and/or performance assessments)

    · Grade 3 Science

    · Grade 3 History

    · Grade 5 Writing

    · US History to 1865

    · US History 1865 to Present 

    (Click on links above to access LAA frameworks)

    Gr 3

    Gr 3

    Gr 5

    Gr 6

    Gr 7


    · Rubric score

    · Strand score

    · Inform instruction

    · Assess mastery of specific standards

    · PLC

    · Teachers

    · Academic Coaches

    · Principals