WJCC schools have made a drastic change starting with the class of 2022. New Virginia state graduation requirements are named “The Profile of a Virginia Graduate.” Made in an effort to get rid of standards of learning tests (or SOLs), Virginia has reduced the number of SOLs needed from 9 for an advanced diploma and 6 for a standard diploma, down to 5 for either diploma. Reducing the number of standardized tests increase class planning flexibility to promote work-based and college learning programs.
A Lafayette history teacher stated, “I don’t think standardized testing is the best way for students to prove their learning capabilities, but I believe social studies is being named as unimportant since the new requirements only require one history standardized assessment.”
The Profile of a Virginia Graduate describes the knowledge, skills and attributes that identify what future employers want to see in Virginia students, in order to prepare kids in the areas of workplace readiness and civic responsibility.
When the Board of Education was discussing this new plan in 2015 they came up with the most important factors of learning and success, called the 5 C’s: critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship. Starting with the class of 2022, a career planning component of the Profile of a Virginia Graduate provides an opportunity for students to learn more about future jobs and employment options in their communities. For a Standard Diploma, the class of 2018 and above must earn 22 credits, instead of the formerly required 28. For an Advanced Diploma, students must earn 26 credits. For each Diploma a student must have 5 verified credits, these can be reached by SOL’s or a locally developed performance-based assessment.
“I think its great because it doesn’t mean anything to students, just to the state and the school,” LHS Senior Brittnay Batalini said about the new plan. With the graduation requirement of only 22 credits, students could have all their graduation credits by the end of their third year in high school. When asked if he thinks its fair for 2022 graduates to only have 22 credits, Lafayette teacher Sean Smith answered “No I don’t like it, but it could be good if after they do their 22 credits, 11-12th graders take college classes to continue their education since they finish early.”
Batalini responded firmly with, “No because students before the freshman class of 2018 had to take 28 credits and 9 SOL’s.”
What students choose to do after their required 3 years of high school is the final test of this new plan. The new graduation requirements are said to make students more “life ready” and college ready than students that graduated before them.