Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Assessment Table of Contents/Assessment Chapter 2: Question Writing (section)/Article 2 Reader Responses

VA SOLs Released Items

Reader ResponsesEdit

I have been working with 6th grade students in special education for eight years and for the past two years we have done VGLAs. But, for my grade level/content area that I chose 6th grade reading. Q# 9 is application because the student has to reason which sentence would fit best in the paragraph. Q#25 would be knowledge because the student has to know the difference between a folk tale, biography, autobiography, and historical fiction.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 17:11, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Before this class I had no idea what SOLs meant. I also had no idea that your teaching was pretty much based around this. Q# 1,3,10 & 17 in 3rd grade reading is knowledge based because you can look up answer in story, it is facts. Q# 15 & 16 are application based because they are situation/examples questions you can not look up answer in paragraph.Aferg006 (talk) 05:25, 6 June 2009 (UTC)


Last year I taught 4th grade Science. What is unique about this particular grade level is that there is no Science SOL test given in 4th grade. When students take the SOL test in 5th grade they are tested on material in both grades. I have used the Grade 5 Release Test to help review my 4th grade students in preparation for their end-of-year test, which my school division requires. From what I have observed, elementary level SOL tests for Science have more application questions than knowledge based questions. Students must be able to read graphs, complete minor computation, and apply what they have learned to answer an array of questions. In the 2007 Grade 5 release test, question 3 uses a flow chart to identify specific characteristics of an organism and the student must correctly identify which organism they are describing. Other examples of application questioning include graphing plant growth (#8), using illustrations to describe characteristics of speed and motion (#9), using factual data about a coral reef to describe and identify the organism that may exist in that biome (#19), and picking the correct illustration that is an example of kinetic energy (#27). Most children can easily memorize facts. Through recollection of previously learned material, students should be able to easily answer knowledge based questions. In the release test, students can pick out an invertebrate (#21), identify the correct weather instrument (#23), understand and identify the layers of the Earth (#26), and choose the correct substance that is an electrical conductor (#38). Due to the nature of scientific investigation, I believe that Science is a great example of how important both knowledge based and application based questioning serves as important tools in student assessment. Acrow005 (talk) 23:26, 4 June 2009 (UTC)


I have to admit, that the SOL's are new to me. The assessment test in Washington state, where I live, is called the WASL. I decided to do some research first, to see if both the SOL and WASL are similar in requirements, etc. I chose to look at the reading sample tests for 5th grade from both the SOL and WASL. Some of the differences I found were what grades were required to take the tests and the scoring. However, I did not find much difference in the format and whether the tests were knowledge or application based. For this assignment, I read through the 5th grade reading test that was released in 2007. This particular subject had a proportionate amount of knowledge and application questions to assess the students. One example of a knowledge based question is #5, where the question asks the student to first read the story above and then "read this part of a sentence from paragraph 8". After reading the particular sentence, the student is asked to tell which word means the same as the suffix of a particular word "en" in the sentence. This is a knowledge based question because it requires the students recall of previous information. One example of an application based question is #12, where the question asks the student to pick "the main problem of the story". This is an application based question because it requires students to apply previous knowledge to help them decide the best course of action for the particular scenario, i.e. deductive reasoning.Scarlett1 (talk) 05:42, 5 June 2009 (UTC)


As I have just finished my first year of teaching Algebra 1 part 2, I am very aware of the SOL standards. Actually, I have researched all the previously used SOL questions and organized them by SOL point for Algebra only. In doing this, throughout the past year, I have come to notice a disturbing trend. In the early years of the SOLs, the Algebra 1 test was about 50-50 knowledge/application. In more recent years, speaking as recent as 2008, the questions are increasingly knowledge. The idea of the SOL is very idealist, to make a standardized test that everyone must pass. However, in order to facilitate that the standards wind up inevitably being lowered so students can pass to meet NCLB. By lowering the standards, not only are the SOL not accomplishing their goal, but also are doing a disservice to those advanced students. In my opinion, the SOLs are like communism: great on paper but nearly impossible to implement "properly". Scrai010 (talk) 15:28, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Last modified on 6 March 2011, at 03:21