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Students Improve SOL Showing

Minority Gap Shortened

The unofficial adjusted spring 2002 Standards of Learning (SOL) results released Monday show Fairfax County Public Schools students posted an overall division pass rate up to 21 percent higher than last year's results. The tests are given to students in third, fifth and eighth grades and to high-school students. Beginning with the Class of 2004, a passing grade in the SOLs will be required for high-school graduation.

According to the school system, students increased their passing percentage by more than 10 percentage points in 17 different subjects since 1998, the first year the SOLs were administered.

The school system's average pass rate for all tests tops 70 percent and is above 80 percent for 24 of the 27 total SOL test and above 90 percent for five of the tests.

The gaps in SOL scores between Hispanic and white students and between black and white students have been reduced in 21 of the 27 subject areas between 2000 and 2002. Hispanic students have closed the gap by almost 12 percentage points in two subjects — eighth-grade history and social studies; and high-school U.S. History — and black students have closed the gap by more than 12 percentage points in eighth-grade history and social studies.

Third- and fifth-grade students posted pass rates above 80 percent on all their SOL test, with fifth graders topping 90 percent in writing and computer technology. The biggest gain by third graders was in English, a 3.72 percent increase. Fifth graders posted their biggest gain in history, a jump of 9.25 percent. Eighth graders posted their biggest gain in history, a pass rate increase of 14.39 percent. Among high-school students, the biggest gain was made in U.S. History, an increase of 20.65 percent and World History from 1000, a gain of 11.53 percent.