The Stress That’s Trying to Help

claudia messina, Editor in Chief

Every student knows or has experienced the stress related to the end of the school year. With final exams, end of year projects, AP testing, and keeping up with classes, there’s a lot to stress over. On top of  that, there are also the SOL’s. SOL stands for standard of learning, it is a state instituted test to evaluate the learning and knowledge of each student at the end of the year. SOL’s are graded from 600 to 400, 600 being a perfect score and 400 is equivalent to about a 70 percent.  Although SOL’s sound like a very serious deal, they don’t count towards anything unless you fail, which is fairly hard to do.

SOL’s in Virginia were originally created in the 1990s and weren’t taken until 1998, although they had existed since the 1980s. They were put in place because, in 1994, the reading scores of Virginia fourth-graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) plummeted. This jolt, coupled with a decade of declining SAT scores, led to the need for more rigorous academic and instructional standards in the Commonwealth’s public schools. In 1998, as students in grades 3, 5, 8 and in high school took assessments in reading, writing, mathematics, history, and science. Results from the 1998 tests were used to determine reasonable standards of the student’s knowledge. As the years went on, SOL scores among students slowly increased and the standard continued to raise.

Even though for students the SOl’s are just a major source of stress, it is important to see the necessity of them. Before SOL’s, the academic standard was fairly low and now, specifically, Fairfax County, is one of the most academically advanced areas of the country. It tries to help in keeping students to push themselves to be the best in school that they can. So although they’re a pain to take, in reality, they help us more than they harm us in keeping us academically sharp.