Gains in chronic absenteeism, declines on state reading tests reported


The accreditation ratings reported by the Virginia Department of Education also show that schools are making progress in reducing chronic absenteeism, but that declines in performance on state reading tests — especially among black and economically disadvantaged students — have resulted in an increase in the number of schools that will receive state assistance to address achievement gaps in English.

“This is the second year that schools have been evaluated under the 2017 Board of Education-approved accreditation standards, and this new system for measuring the progress and needs of schools is doing exactly what it was designed to do,” said Superintendent of Public Education Dr. James Lane. “Last year’s ratings compelled school divisions to focus on the need to reduce chronic absenteeism, and their success in improving student attendance is reflected in the ratings for 2019-2020. These latest ratings will help VDOE target its efforts toward increasing student literacy and furthering progress toward eliminating achievement gaps in the schools that are most in need of the department’s support and expertise.”

The number of schools meeting the state board’s goal for reducing chronic absenteeism increased 4%, from 1,600 to 1,663. Twenty-three schools are identified as in need of state support to reduce chronic absenteeism, 21 fewer schools than last year. The number of schools identified as in need of state assistance to address achievement gaps in English increased by 13, to 125, compared with 112 last year.

“The Board of Education is focused on ensuring that every child has an opportunity to reach his or her potential,” Board of Education President Daniel Gecker said. “The 2017 accreditation standards focus local decision-making and resources on the board’s goal of reducing — and ultimately eliminating —achievement gaps while maintaining high standards for all students. This work, along with the work the board is currently doing on the Standards of Quality, advances the board’s equity agenda, as set forth in our adopted comprehensive plan.”

Under the revised accreditation system, schools are evaluated on school quality indicators grouped in three categories: academic achievement, achievement gaps, and student engagement and outcomes.  Performance on each indicator is rated at one of the following levels:

Level One: Meets or exceeds state standard or sufficient improvement

Level Two: Near state standard or sufficient improvement

Level Three: Below state standard


The following tables summarize how Virginia schools performed on each applicable indicator.


Academic Achievement Summary

Indicator Schools at Level One Schools at Level Two Schools at Level Three
English 1,689 81 49
Mathematics 1,769 23 27
Science 1,649 51 60


Achievement Gaps Summary

Indicator Schools at Level One Schools at Level Two Schools at Level Three
English 975 719 125
Mathematics 1,406 352 61


Student Engagement and Outcomes Summary

Indicator Schools at

Level One

Schools at

Level Two

Schools at

Level Three

Chronic Absenteeism 1,663 133 23
Dropout Rate (High Schools) 256 43 31
Graduation & Completion (High Schools) 302 17 9


As a consequence of the school quality indicator ratings, 252 schools will undergo academic reviews.

Schools earn one of the following three accreditation ratings based on performance on school quality indicators, as follows:

Accredited – Schools with all school quality indicators at either Level One or Level Two. In addition, high-performing schools with waivers from annual accreditation authorized by the General Assembly are rated as Accredited.

Accredited with Conditions – Schools with one or more school quality indicators at Level Three

Accreditation Denied – Schools that fail to adopt or fully implement required corrective actions to address Level Three school-quality indicators.


The following table summarizes overall school accreditation ratings for 2019-2020.


State School Accreditation Summary

Accreditation Rating Number of Schools Percentage of Schools
Accredited 1,682 92%
Accredited Pending Review of Alternative Plan 5 <1%
Accredited With Conditions 132 7%
New School 6 <1%
Total 1,825 100%


The 1,682 schools with an overall rating of Accredited include 61 schools with waivers from annual accreditation based on previous high performance that otherwise would have been rated as Accredited with Conditions.


Every school under the 2017 accreditation regulations — regardless of performance — must develop a multi-year plan to support continuous improvement on each school quality indicator. The revised accreditation standards require the following specific local and state actions to improve performance on each indicator:

Level One – School and division continue to monitor the indicator and the school’s multi-year plan for continuous improvement.

Level Two – School and division implement essential actions and research-based strategies to improve performance on the indicator to Level One. If at Level Two for overall performance in English, mathematics or science, school must also undergo an academic review conducted by VDOE or under department guidance.

Level Three – School undergoes an academic review conducted by VDOE or under its guidance. School and school division – in consultation with VDOE – develop and implement a corrective action plan.

School divisions that do not demonstrate evidence of progress in adopting or implementing corrective action plans for a school or schools with indicators at Level Three will be required to enter into a memorandum of understanding between the local school board and the state Board of Education defining responsibilities and essential actions to improve performance.


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