Tougher statewide math exams took their toll on Virginia schools, as the number of fully accredited campuses fell sharply, Watchdog.org reported Friday.
Only 257 schools met the mathematics benchmark based on achievement over three years, compared with 750 last year, the Department of Education said.
Revised reading and writing Standards of Learning tests were also a factor in the decline of accredited campuses.
Six schools in three divisions were denied state accreditation for 2013-2014 because of chronically low student achievement:
- Alexandria — Jefferson-Houston Elementary for a second consecutive year.
- Norfolk — Lafayette-Wynona Middle for a fourth consecutive year; William H. Ruffner Middle for a second consecutive year; and Lindenwood Elementary, which had been granted Conditional Accreditation for 2012-2013.
- Petersburg — Peabody Middle for an eighth consecutive year and A.P. Hill Elementary, which had been Accredited with Warning for three consecutive years.
Under legislation approved by the 2013 General Assembly, the six schools are subject to the authority of the state’s newly created Opportunity Educational Institution. The law gives OEI the power to manage these schools in whatever manner it determines as most likely to achieve full state accreditation, including conversion to charter schools or college laboratory schools.
The legislation also gives OEI the authority — upon a majority vote of its governing board — to supervise and operate 19 schools that have been Accredited with Warning for three consecutive years.
“The vast majority of warned schools turn around before losing state accreditation as school boards, administrators, teachers and parents pull together and — with assistance from the commonwealth — focus their efforts on improving instruction and raising achievement to state standards,“ said Secretary of Education Laura Fornash.
Nevertheless, national education reformer RiShawn Biddle has criticized the state for its rising number of failing schools. He has called for new leadership at DOE.