Accredited. Or Not.

While attempting to gain some Excel skills, I came upon some interesting Accreditation data.

Here, to start, are the statewide data for the past six years:


The green points are the percentages of fully accredited Virginia schools; red are Accreditation Denied; gray (“Other”) are neither fully accredited nor denied accreditation.

The years on the x-axis are the testing years.  VDOE reports accreditation for the year after the testing year.  Thus, VDOE reports the latest data available, from 2016, as accreditation status for 2017.

The “Other” classification is a practical necessity.  In 2011, the only classifications, aside from Full Accreditation and Accreditation Denied, were Warning, Conditional, and Provisional (graduation rate).   By 2016, those three had inflated to eight classifications that were neither full nor denied accreditation.

The ups and downs in the graph reflect changes in the testing regime: VBOE instituted new, and tougher, math tests in 2012 and reading & science tests in 2013. 

(VBOE changed the tests largely in response to the General Assembly’s response to the widespread cheating on the tests for handicapped students.)

It takes four consecutive years of failure to lose accreditation so the immediate effect of the new tests was to increase the population of the “Other” category.  That category peaked in 2014 and then declined as the better schools learned to deal with the new tests.

2016 marked the fifth year with the new math tests and the fourth with the new reading tests.  The denials of accreditation for the weakest schools surged.

If we add Chesterfield County to the picture, we see much the same pattern as with the statewide data.


Chesterfield has been consistently above average but even that fine division is beginning to show the effect of the new tests on its weakest schools:  Two of sixty-one were denied accreditation in 2016.

The Henrico data reflect the performance of the weaker schools in the eastern part of the county: Seven of sixty-seven schools were denied accreditation in 2016.


Turning to Richmond’s peer cities, here is Hampton with two of twenty-nine schools denied accreditation in 2016.


Going downhill, Newport News:  Seven of thirty-eight denied in 2016.


And Norfolk:  Fifteen of forty-five denied in 2016.


Last, and worst, Richmond:  Sixteen of forty-five schools (36%) denied accreditation in 2016; seventeen (38%) fully accredited.


The 2017 data should tell us (sometime this Fall) something about whether these urban divisions are starting to recover.

In the meantime, it might be of interest to contrast these data with the happy talk from our (soon to be former) Superintendent.