Virginia Education Leaders Waive Accreditation For 2021-2022 School Year

By: Ashley Curtis

Virginia schools will reopen this fall without the added pressure of accreditation.

The state’s superintendent of public instruction, James Lane, used his emergency authority on Tuesday to waive accreditation requirements for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Schools were issued an accreditation waiver in April for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Because accreditation ratings are based on performance during the previous school year, there is insufficient data to calculate ratings for the 2020-2021 academic year because there weren’t any spring 2020 SOL results, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

On the same note, because year-to-year growth in English and math are key accreditation metrics, the Virginia Department of Education said it won’t have sufficient data to calculate ratings for 2021-2022 either, because even if students are able to take tests next spring, the department won’t have baseline data from 2019-2020 for measuring growth.

Lane said the waivers allow for schools to focus on students’ health, safety and emotional well-being without the accreditation pressure.

“…If tests are administered during the upcoming school year, the focus should be on evaluating the impact of the pandemic on student learning and establishing a new baseline for measuring student growth” Lane said in a news release.

Schools will be assigned a rating of “Accreditation Waived.”