VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Hundreds of Virginia Beach middle schoolers have to take their SOL tests again because school calculators were not cleared properly before they were given to students.
At least 298 students out of about 400 students at Corporate Landing Middle School who took math SOL tests received calculators with apps that are not allowed during testing. The students are in the 7th and 8th grade.
Dr. Donald Robertson, the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Leadership and Assessment, says the students are scheduled to retest this Friday beginning at 9 a.m..
"They should have checked it before giving it to their students," said Ann Marie, a parent who received the letter from the principal.
Ann Marie's eighth grade daughter says some of the other students in her class started to cry when they heard they have to retest.
"There is no great apology I can give them, other than have great empathy," said Dr. Donald Robertson, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Learning and Assessment for Virginia Beach Public Schools.
Robertson admits the school made a mistake. He says school calculators are collected before testing so they can be cleared.
"In this case, the responsibility to clear the calculators was delegated to a lead math teacher who is absolutely devastated at this point because of the effect it's having on students and the school," said Robertson.
The 298 students who got one of those calculators are the only students who need to take the test a second time. The calculators contained applications, similar to the kinds used on smart phones. Some calculators had more than one application.
The school investigation found no malice on the part of the students. There is no way to prove any students knew about the apps or used them.
The Department of Education investigated and determined the apps gave students an unfair advantage - so they have no choice but to test again - without them.
"Don't make them retake because it's not their fault," said Ann Marie. "It's not their fault."
Robertson says 70 percent of the students who took the math SOL tests at Corporate Landing passed the first time. Students who unknowingly used the calculators containing applications had their grades voided.
To see a list of state-approved calculators and ways to clear them properly, click here.
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