Growth Assessments

Share & Bookmark, Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Legislation passed in the 2021 Virginia General Assembly (HB2027 and SB1357required the implementation of “through-year” or “growth” assessments for reading and mathematics in grades 3-8. To ensure that the growth assessments administered for this purpose are aligned to the Standards of Learning (SOL), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) developed shorter computer adaptive tests (CAT) using existing SOL test items.

The legislation requires that the grades 3-8 reading and mathematics growth assessments be administered to students once in the fall and once in the winter (mid-year) during the school year. In addition to the growth assessments, the SOL tests for grade 3-8 reading and mathematics will continue to be administered.

In compliance with the 2021 legislation, the CAT algorithm has been configured so that the student might be administered some items from below or above the current grade level depending on the student’s responses to the on-grade-level content items. For example, students taking the grade 5 mathematics growth assessment will primarily be administered grade 5 test items; however, depending on the student’s responses to the on-grade-level test items, the student may also be administered some grade 4 test items or some grade 6 test items.

There are exceptions to the potential administration of off-grade-level items. The grade 8 reading and mathematics growth assessments only include items assessing SOL content that is at or below the 8th grade level since there are no items assessing content above grade 8 in the current CAT items banks. In addition, a student who meets the criteria for a paper test will only be administered test items that assess SOL content aligned with the student’s grade level.

Item Maps

Virginia assessment item maps are a resource that provides descriptions and examples of test items students were likely to answer correctly based on the vertical scaled score they achieved on their state assessment. A vertical scaled score is a score that allows comparisons between Virginia Growth Assessments and Standards of Learning tests. Each item map provides examples of test question descriptions of test questions at different score points within the vertical scaled score range for a specific grade and subject.

These examples represent what students may see on the state assessments in a particular grade and subject. The descriptions are examples of what students may know or be able to do at each score point. Some descriptions include a released test question and answer options to further show what the student would most likely answer correctly if they achieved at or above that score point. This information, along with a student’s test results, may be used to plan conversations with families, determine intervention strategies to strengthen student understanding, or establish a plan to accelerate learning.

Presentations for Teachers

Recorded presentations related to Standards of Learning tests and Grades 3-8 Reading and Mathematics Growth Assessments are provided to assist teachers in Virginia public schools. Questions about these presentations should be directed to the Office of Student Assessment.

Growth Assessments Test Blueprints: Updated for Winter 2023-2024 (November 2023)

Much like the blueprint for a building, a test blueprint serves as a guide for test construction.  The blueprint indicates the content areas that will be addressed by the test and the number of items that will be included by content area and for the test as a whole. 



Ancillary Test Materials

Grades 3-8 Reading and Mathematics Growth Assessments Manuals


Resources for Assessment

  • Computer Adaptive Testing – Includes informational videos and resources about computer adaptive testing (CAT)
  • SOL Practice Items - The Practice Items are test items grouped by content area and grade level or course available for use by teachers, parents, and students in Virginia.
  • Guided Practice Suggestions - The Guided Practice Suggestions are designed to be used in conjunction with the Practice Items. The Guided Practice Suggestions provide specific guided practice suggestions for teachers as they lead students through a practice item set. Following these suggestions will ensure that students are exposed to all of the different tools within TestNav, the different functionality features of technology-enhanced items (TEI), and common messages that may appear as students complete TEI.
  • TestNav Functionality Overview Grade 3 Reading and Mathematics Fall 2021 (YouTube) – The YouTube video is designed for teachers to use independently or with their students. Teachers may play the video and stop it while students practice certain test features and item functionality using the practice items.

Mathematics (2016)

Reading (2017)