SOLs: The Dreaded Test Season


Photo by Hannah H. and Catherine C.

Students gathered alphabetically in classrooms to take the SOLS. (Note: Simulated Photo, no photos were taken during actual testing.)

As the last quarter of the 2022-23 school year began, the students of Longfellow had to face the biggest tests of middle school. Teachers reviewed every unit and lesson while students prepared for the upcoming tests: SOLs. 

On May 3, May 5, and May 10, 2023, Longfellow students showed their knowledge by completing the long-awaited SOL tests. They were tested in English, science, and math. These tests, the Standards of Learning (SOL),  inform the school whether they are teaching the state-mandated curriculum effectively.  

“I definitely think there’s a place for standardized testing,”  shared Principle Dr. Jim Patrick.  “It’s a way to track what students are learning, what adjustments we need to make in their learning, and what support students will need if they aren’t doing well.”

Both seventh and eighth grade students were tested on math and English, but only eighth graders completed the science SOL. That being said, the science SOL asked eighth graders questions regarding the curriculums of sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.

Before the SOLs started, math, English, and eighth grade science teachers spent significant time reviewing the topics they had covered over the year.

“I created a multiple choice practice for each SOL standard, and we’ve been reviewing them during class,” said math teacher Sheva M. 

Despite being taught the material and going through all the reviews, students still felt uncertain about the intimidating exam.

“I’m nervous because I feel like my teachers will be let down if I fail,” shared seventh grader Maia L.

Longfellow is known for its academics and impressive students, which adds more pressure to succeed, but teachers and administrators seem to think they have what it takes.

“I think we have a great student body. I know how hard students have worked all year, and I think we have a great staff that care very much about their students,” said Dr. Patrick. “I feel very comfortable about how we’re going to perform and demonstrate, and I also know that if students don’t get it the first time, there’ll be other opportunities for them.” 

From the principal to every teacher, the confidence that students would put their best feet forward was tremendous.

“I’m very confident that the kids are going to do their best and they’re going to put in their full effort, and that’s all we can ask for,” said Sheva. “I’m proud of them for all the effort and practice they’ve been putting in in preparation for the SOL.” 

SOL scores go to each school’s teachers and staff so they can analyze what information students missed and see what they can do to improve instruction in those areas.  The goal is to improve teaching methods and therefore learning for future students. 

Now that the testing period is over, students get to relax and enjoy the final days of school until summer break. With a year until the testing season comes back around, SOLs are the last of Longfellow Lancers’ worries.