Author Archives: Joe Hill

Recent Changes to SOL Testing

There have been lots of changes to state Standards of Learning testing in the past few years. Here are a few of the changes:

  • Since 2013, all SOL tests have shown an increase in the rigor required. Questions include more multi-step problems or problems which require a higher level of thinking.
  • In 2016-2017, the online grades 3-8 mathematics SOL tests and online grades 3-5 reading SOL tests will be administered as computer adaptive tests. A Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) is an assessment that is customized for every student. How a student responds to a question determines the difficulty of the next item. A correct response leads to a more difficult test item, while an incorrect resonse results in the selection of a less difficult item for the student.
  • Technology-Enhanced Items. All subjects now include non-multiple choice test items. These require students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills. Some require students to enter an answer directly; others require, for example, students to construct on-line graphs or order items.
  • New method of test delivery. Beginning in 2017, students can take online SOL tests on iPads. Previously testing had been limited to computers and laptops.
  • Retakes of SOL tests when students almost pass. For years, high school students have had the option of taking end-of-course assessments again after remediation. Now this has been extended to all students, grades 3-8. Students must score in the 375-400 range to be eligible for re-takes and parental approval is required.

New “Portaportal of Portaportals” site available to students

Students in both the EDUC 316 and EDUC 370 classes have been required to construct their own Portaportal sites on which students put links to many websites they plan to use when they start teaching.  This bookmarking site will make it easy both for the teachers-to-be and their students to quickly access sites which have useful content on them.  Each individual student’s Portaportal site has been added to the class Portaportal site, creating a Portaportal of Portaportals.  Here are the links to these sites:

EDUC 370:

EDUC 316:

TEP Students Can Now Download Smart Notebook Software on Personal Computers

Thanks to a recent arrangement with Smart, Inc. all students in the Teacher Education Program can download and install on their personal computers Smart Notebook V15.  TEP faculty can provide students with the activation code they need in order to download and use this license from  Any students who need additional directions or this access code can contact me.

BC Teacher Education Faculty

Our Teacher Education Program includes:  Front row:  Dr. Rebecca Harris, Dr. Jenny Martin,TEP Faculty 2015 Prof. Hope Rias  Second row:  Dr. Jean Hawk, TEP Coordinator Amanda Woolf  Third row:  Dr. Karen Rogers, Dr. Jennie Carr, Prof. Joe Hill.   Dr. Hawk is the Department Chair.