Accreditation ratings are based on the achievement of students on statewide tests taken during the previous academic year, or on achievement during the three most recent academic years. In determining the accreditation rating of a school, adjustments are made to reward schools for the successful remediation of previously failing students. Allowances also are made for certain transfer students and certain English language learners. The benchmark adjusted pass rates for a school to be rated as Fully Accredited are as follows:
- English 75 percent
- Mathematics 70 percent
- Science 70 percent
- History/Social Science 70 percent
Ratings for high schools also reflect the success of efforts to increase completion and graduation. To be rated as Fully Accredited, a high school must have a Graduation and Completion Index of at least 85 percent. The Graduation and Completion Index awards full credit for students who earn diplomas, and partial credit for high school equivalencies.
In addition, effective with the 2016-2017 school year, schools that meet all requirements for full accreditation for three consecutive years are automatically rated as Fully Accredited for a fourth year.
For federal accountability purposes, Virginia reports a graduation rate known as the Federal Graduation Indicator, which unlike the Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate, does not adjust high school cohorts to account for students’ English language learner or disability status, and only includes Standard Diplomas and Advanced Studies Diplomas in the numerator.
Like the Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate, the Federal Graduation Indicator is an adjusted cohort graduation rate based on cohorts of students who enter ninth grade for the first time; it is adjusted for students who transfer in or transfer out of a high school, school division, or the commonwealth.