In my first few weeks on this beat, I’ve gotten several notes from parents and advocates about some of the problems they’ve encountered at Fairfax County schools.
Classrooms are crammed. Teachers are ensconced in double-wides with wafer-thin walls. The school system may face a multimillion-dollar deficit in the next year as it struggles to pay for an ever-growing student body.
While challenges abound in Fairfax public schools, there’s some good news, too. For the most part, Fairfax students outperformed their peers around the state on standardized tests.
The latest data released by the Virginia Department of Education indicate that Fairfax students as a whole did well on last year’s Standards of Learning tests, known as the SOLs.
This year, a revised and more difficult math test was given to students across Virginia. In addition, the state changed the way the test was graded. As a result, only 68 percent of Virginia students passed the exams. In Fairfax, about 78 percent of students passed.
Scores in reading, history and science all held steady, and in almost every case, Fairfax students did better than the state average.
So how do Fairfax schools stack up? Pretty darn good, actually.
The Virginia Department of Education released the test score data by county and school. To see how your kid’s school did, check out this link.
The data also split up students by sub-group. A hot topic in education coverage concerns the “gaps” in achievement between students of different ethnic backgrounds. There’s certainly a noticeable difference in test scores between the sub-groups in Fairfax, particularly in math. In other areas, it appears that the gaps may be inching closer.
Look at these tables provided by the county to see some of the data broken down by sub-groups.