Website Helps Students Prepare For Range of Virginia Standards of Learning Tests

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., May 21, 2010 – Thousands of Virginia students flock to Jefferson Lab's Science Education website each spring to prepare for the Virginia Standards of Learning tests.

Jefferson Lab recently received 2009 SOL questions and responses from the Virginia Department of Education and has added them to the SOL archive on Jefferson Lab's website. For the first time, the website now includes high school Biology, in addition to Math 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8; Science 3, 5 and 8; Technology 5 and 8 and high school Chemistry, Earth Science, Algebra I and II, and Geometry SOL questions and responses.

"The most frequently accessed pages on the website include the Virginia Standards of Learning Science, Math and Technology Practice Tests and our 'Who Wants to Win $1 Million Math and Science Quiz,'" says Steve Gagnon, Jefferson Lab Science Education technician and webmaster. (No money is involved.)

The education website includes questions from the recently released 2009 Virginia SOL tests, as well as test questions going back to 2000.

"The SOL practice tests are a great resource for students, teachers, parents, or anyone interested in the information," Gagnon adds.

The website is set up so a person can request 5, 10, 20, or 40 random multiple-choice questions from a single category. Or if desired, the site allows teachers and students to bring up non-random sets of questions. If a teacher wants a class to review a series of specific subcategories, the teacher can have the students go to the website's SOL index page and make an assigned series of selections from the "options" offered. Then all of the students will go through the same fixed set of questions.

"This feature is very useful for classroom settings," Gagnon notes.

The interactive design of the website lets users select and submit their answer. They are immediately told if their response is right or wrong. Whether a correct or incorrect response is given, the answer page repeats the question and provides the correct answer.

"Use of this review tool climbs significantly as preparation for the annual testing period gets underway," Gagnon notes. "Use usually peaks in May with daily page hits running into the four millions."

While a significant number of students from across Virginia use these review tools to prepare for SOL tests, teachers and students from a number of other states also use these web-based resources to review for annual academic tests.

Visit the Jefferson Lab Education webpage for these and other games and activities (http://education.jlab.org/). To access the SOL practice tests or to play the $1 million math and science quiz, click on the Games & Puzzles icon.

Jefferson Lab is one of 17 U.S. Department of Energy national research laboratories and facilities. It is managed and operated by Jefferson Science Associates, LLC for the DOE Office of Science.