- Published on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 15:55
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The State Board of Education released its annual accreditation report and the cloud that hovered over Westmoreland County’s Washington and Lee High School once year ago is but a memory. Gone in the updated State Board of Education assessment is the county high school’s past year’s provisional accreditation rating.
Westmoreland schools have returned to the ranks of the 93 percentile range complying with Standards of Learning criteria. As reported in these pages one year ago, the federal government’s No Child Left Behind/Standards of Learning protocols mandated a continued raising of the bar in matters of testing metrics and types of diplomas awarded to a school division’s graduates.
According to the governing criteria, it is no longer enough to receive a GED or a vocational degree and it is not the number of drop-outs that now drive the metric’s graduation index. Only partial credit was awarded when students earned a GED in 2010-2011. The requisite for full accreditation high schools needed a graduation and completion index measured at 85 or higher.
One year ago Washington and Lee was one of thirty Virginia high schools whose measure fell below the stated threshold. Test scores were in compliance with the federal standards.
According to the State Board of Information reporting, new graduation standards reflected in the 2011-2012 report allocate full credit when students earn a diploma recognized by that Board. “The percentage of fully accredited high schools rose to 90 percent, compared with 86 percent last year when the Board of Education began including a ‘graduation and completion index’ into the accountability formula for high schools, in addition to student achievement on state tests,” the State Board of Education reported on Sept. 26.
The State Board of Education report attributed the rise in provisional accreditation designations to the increasing rigorous testing standards, advising that “the move to more rigorous standards will continue to present accreditation challenges for many of the commonwealth’s schools. We are confident, however, that over the long haul our graduates will be better prepared to succeed in college and the work place,” Virginia Board of Education President David M. Foster remarked in the Department’s official statement of Sept. 26.