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Examining The Importance of SOLs

Brianna Stoddard
FHS sophomore Alex Arteta studying to be more prepared for his Biology SOL.

In Virginia schools such as Freedom High School, students must take at least one math and one science SOL for the first two years of high school. During junior year, students are required to take a reading and writing SOL. Students aren’t given a specific reason as to why taking SOLs are so important and this leads to many students and teachers having doubts about if it is really necessary to acknowledge SOLs. 

“I don’t really think there are any benefits [to taking SOLs]. It’s just like extra stress [for students] at the end of the year,” said junior Christopher Hidalgo.

Not only do students have to worry about these exams but taking an SOL requires students to take time out of their own busy schedules to prepare. Students have to learn to balance their school work and study for these SOLs. Students often wonder if the extra stress that SOLs add to their school year is necessary. 

“A con is, like I said, extra stress,” Hidalgo said. “And I think most [students] would agree that it’s kind of pointless since you don’t get anything out of [an SOL].” 

It is very often that students need to pass an SOL in order to receive a verified credit. In order to pass an SOL, students need to have a score of at least 400 and to pass advanced, students need to score a 500 or higher. The two main worries that students have about taking SOLs is either not scoring high enough to pass or not passing at an advanced level. With this in mind, it is clear why students may find SOLs a stressful factor during their school year.

When deciding whether SOLs are beneficial for students or not, the opinions of a teacher is also very crucial when making a decision. 

“I think [an SOL is] a serious assessment,” said Christopher Forcina, a World I history teacher. “But to which a majority of our students are, but I think as long as you’re studying, I don’t think that is something that should cause a major amount of stress.” 

Having to take an SOL seems stressful but one way to help ease that stress is for students to study until they feel prepared. For many students, this simple task can turn out to be not as easy as it is made out to be. All SOLs are taken towards the end of the school year which happens to be when students usually get assigned the most work out of the whole school year. 

“We should try and navigate towards higher order thinking questions so students can demonstrate their growth throughout the year,” Forcina said.  “Now, do I think the SOL is the way to do that? I think yes and no. I am a fan of the projects but just like with anything, projects also have their drawbacks where it might not be as easy to hold a student accountable.”

In the school year of 2021-2022, freshmen were required to take a 60 question history SOL test and if they didn’t score a 400 or higher then they were required to retake the SOL. But for the school year of 2022-2023, students were required to do an SOL in the form of a project instead of a 60 question test. 

The necessity of SOLs isn’t an easy topic to determine but SOLs are deemed necessary to the department of education. The input from students and teachers is still very important to acknowledge. Ultimately everyone has a different point of view on the importance of these standardized tests. 

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About the Contributor
Brianna Stoddard
Brianna Stoddard, Staff Writer
Hello, my name is Brianna. I took Intro to Journalism as a freshman and decided to take journalism again as a junior. Taking Intro to Journalism helped me discover a passion for writing and photography. I hope to continue those passions this year. During my free time, I like to practice photography and read.