Virginia Board of Education Reviews Summary from Fifteen Accountability Listening Sessions


The Virginia Board of Education recently concluded a series of fifteen in-person and virtual Listening Sessions providing over 800 parents, educators, and community members an opportunity to comment on the development of Virginia’s school performance and support framework. The new framework is designed to provide greater transparency and awareness of school performance and student outcomes.

The eight in-person sessions brought together over 200 attendees including parents, teachers, principals, school board members, division superintendents, division directors of testing, and members of the Virginia General Assembly. The virtual sessions held by the Board had over 600 participants from organizations including the Virginia Middle School Association, the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, and the Virginia PTA. Additionally, over 170 comments were submitted outside of the Listening Sessions for the Board’s consideration on the proposed regulatory decisions and next steps.

“The response and feedback we have received from the public throughout the Commonwealth clearly demonstrates the importance of this work,” said Board of Education Member Dr. Amber Northern. “I am encouraged by the level of participation and grateful for the insightful comments and meaningful discussions we’ve received as we continue to shape Virginia’s school performance and support framework. These sessions have been extremely valuable as we move forward in identifying our schools that need help and ensuring they receive the support their students need.”

The comments and feedback received during the in-person and virtual sessions indicated a number of key takeaways:


Overall, participants had a positive response and strong support for the mastery index, a weighted calculation based on the achievement level attained by students. Feedback indicates a desire to provide weighting for every performance levels. Stakeholders shared that performance levels should not cause advanced performance to mask the basic or below basic performance.


Feedback on school performance categories demonstrated stakeholder and Board alignment on the desire to not use an A-F scale to categorize schools. Feedback suggests a strong preference for using narrative, descriptive categories, such as “exemplar, meeting, developing, emerging,” as opposed to a numeric approach for describing the overall performance of a school. There was a consensus on the need for robust and clear communication through a summative measure to provide transparency.

Stakeholders also voiced a strong desire for accurately representing the hard work and successes of educators while clearly explaining the ongoing supports schools need to ensure the success of every student. Support was also expressed for providing thorough support for federally identified schools in the Targeted Support and Improvement, Additional Targeted Support and Improvement, and Comprehensive Support and Improvement categories.


Stakeholders shared commentary and feedback on the potential indicators/performance tasks for growth and readiness.

For elementary school, there was consistent positive feedback on the concept of a 5 C’s (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creative thinking, and citizenship) performance tasks.

As part of the feedback received by the Board, after the first three Listening Sessions a middle school performance task was introduced for discussion, combining career planning and the 5 C’s into one cohesive measure of career planning readiness.


There was a strong interest in ways to create a measurable work-based learning experience, as well as ensure dual/concurrent enrolment are included in high school readiness measurements. Civics readiness was also emphasized as a continued component, with the strongest feedback around creating a clear measure through community service hours project or another civics-focused experience.

Commenters also expressed concern with focusing solely on advanced coursework to measure high school readiness for all learners, and that another indicator should be considered alongside advanced course work participation. Participants also placed an emphasis on recognizing staffing concerns for advanced coursework across individual divisions.

Regarding use of the graduation rate, there was strong interest in including all students through a metric that factors in alternative diplomas, extended year options for graduation, and GED.

Participants also asked the Board to review the weighting on any chronic absenteeism factor to ensure alignment across elementary, middle, and high school.


The significant public response and participation in the Listening Sessions was valuable feedback for the Board as the school performance and support framework continues to be developed.

In August 2023, the Board began the official regulatory process to revise Virginia’s Standards of Accreditation with an intention of creating a school performance and support framework separate from accreditation. The school performance and support framework aims to enhance the transparency and effectiveness of Virginia’s educational accountability system.

In November and December 2023, Listening Sessions were held throughout the Commonwealth to help facilitate public engagement in the school performance and support framework development process. Over 375 people comprised of parents, teachers, principals, school board members, division superintendents, and division directors of testing attended the 2023 sessions.

The Board of Education will continue to have discussions regarding the school performance and support framework as they consider the feedback and ongoing conversations they have with Virginians as they move forward in bringing more engagement and transparency to Virginia’s accountability system.

For more details you can have access to the full report from here