All students in the Commonwealth of Virginia must participate in the assessment component of the state’s accountability system. The vast majority of students in Virginia are assessed via the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, either with or without accommodations. However, a small percentage of the overall student population is unable to access the SOL tests due to the nature of their disability. The achievement of each student is determined, based on the content area assessed, through a multiple choice assessment or the analysis of a compilation of student work samples collected during test administration. The alternate assessments created afford certain students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in the statewide assessment program.
The Virginia Alternate Assessment Program, or VAAP, is designed to measure learning in students with significant cognitive disabilities in grades 3-8 and high school. VAAP participants will take two forms of assessments based on the content area being evaluated:
For reading, mathematics, and science, a multiple-choice assessment will be administered to students in an online or paper format. This test will be based on academic content standards derived from the Standards of Learning (SOL) in reading, mathematics, and science that have been reduced in depth, breadth, and complexity. These are referred to as the Virginia Essentialized Standards of Learning (VESOLs). The VDOE developed two informational resources for parents of students participating in the VAAP:
- The New VAAP: Introduction for Parents (Video)
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about VAAP for Parents (PDF)
For history and writing, the Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOL) academic standards, also reduced in complexity and breadth, are used. For these two subject areas, students will compile a collection of work samples to demonstrate achievement on the ASOL.
For more information, please visit the Alternate Assessment resources page on the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) website.