Skip to main content
Assessment Descriptions and Information

Assessment Descriptions and Information

ACPS Performance Tasks

Approximate number of assessments given: 10,000

Annual, division‐level administration of performance tasks provides information on student development of the skills and understandings needed to be a Lifelong Learner across grade levels and content areas. This element of student performance brings balance to the current ACPS assessment matrix and guarantees that all students are assessed on skills and understandings beyond the SOLs by measuring ACPS Essential Standards and Lifelong Learner Competencies.

Access for ELLs™

Approximate number of assessments given: 1,000

What is the ACCESS for ELLs™?

ACCESS for ELLs™ is a standards-based, criterion referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English language learners' social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies within the school context across the four language domains.

Why is an English Language Proficiency test required?

An English Language Proficiency test is required under No Child Left Behind legislation. Passed in 2001, NCLB indicates that all K-12 English language learners must be assessed annually for English proficiency growth and academic progress.

Accountability and Virginia Public Schools

Schools receive two annual accountability ratings based on the performance of students on SOL tests and graduation rates (for high schools). Click on the links below to read explanations of the two accountability ratings: Virginia's Accreditation and the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)

Approximate number of assessments given: 16,000

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests are internationally normed assessments that emphasize student growth. The tests measure reading, language usage, and mathematics achievement. One of the unique features of MAP tests is that they dynamically respond to student performance: students who are getting questions correct are presented with more challenging questions and vice versa.

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)

Approximate number of assessments given: 4,000

PALS is used with children to identify students at risk of reading difficulties. PALS is designed to measure young children’s knowledge of important literacy fundamentals and can be used as a diagnostic tool to provide teachers with explicit information to help guide their teaching.

Advanced Placement Exams

Approximate number of assessments given: 2,500

Advanced Placement courses give students the chance to try college-level work in high school. Classes available vary by high school. Information on exam dates, college and university policies on AP credit acceptance, and more can be found on the College Board website.

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

Approximate number of assessments given: 1,000

The CogAT is designed to measure reasoning ability. The purpose of the test is to assess student ability to cope with school learning tasks, to suggest possible placement for school learning programming, and to evaluate achievement in relation to the talents students bring to school learning situations. All second graders, with the exception of those who may have had the CogAT 6 as part of the gifted ID process, will take the CogAT 6 Level 2 in their classroom in middle to late February.

The CogAT 6 Level 2 contains six tests. In addition, the Division administers a practice test to familiarize students with the test format and types of questions. All questions in the test and the practice test are presented orally, allowing the test administrator to adjust the pace of testing as needed. The test itself is administered in three sittings.

There is no preparation for taking the CogAT other than to get a good night's rest the day before, eat a healthy breakfast, and arrive on time.

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

Approximate number of assessments given: 2,000

The Preliminary SAT/National merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program co-sponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. It also gives students a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.

The PSAT/NMSQT measures:

  • Critical reading skills
  • Math problem-solving skills
  • Writing skills

Common Assessments

Division level: Used to determine prior knowledge and student misconceptions regarding content and process included in our curriculum, as well as identify areas for additional instruction. The Division level midyear assessments have been designed to be given as a midpoint in the year as an assessment of both whether students have learned what has been taught as well as an indicator of their grasp on material that has not yet been covered. Using data from the division level assessments along with school level common assessment data teachers may adjust pacing and instructional strategies.

School level: Common assessments are built around common content and used to determine next steps in teaching. Professional Learning Communities should examine common assessment data to determine strengths and weaknesses in both the assessment and instruction.


Approximate number of assessments given: 500

Web-based test of written, oral, and listening proficiency in foreign languages. Students in their third year, or above, of a high school foreign language are given an opportunity to take the STAMP test to demonstrate their progress toward mastery.

Standards of Learning (SOLs) Currently in Effect for Virginia Public Schools

Approximate number of assessments given: 30,000

The Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools describe the commonwealth's expectations for student learning and achievement in grades K-12 in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health and physical education, and driver education.

These standards represent a broad consensus of what parents, classroom teachers, school administrators, academics, and business and community leaders believe schools should teach and students should learn.

In the four core areas of English, mathematics, science, and history/social science, a curriculum framework also is provided that details the specific knowledge and skills students must possess to meet the standards for these subjects.

For more information on Standards of Learning currently in effect and links to curriculum frameworks, please visit the Virginia Department of Education web site.

SOL Testing in Albemarle County Schools

Reading Writing Math Science History/Social Studies
Grade 3 X X

Grade 4 X X
Grade 5 X
Grade 6 X X
Grade 7 X X
Grade 8 X X X X X Civics & Econ
End of Course (EOC) G 11 G 11 Algebra I/ Algebra II/ Geometry Earth Science/ Biology/ Chemistry World History I/ World History II/ VA/US History

Get Acrobat PDF Reader You may need the free Acrobat Reader to access information presented in PDF format.