Sylvia and Marcus are looking for the Top Fairfax County Elementary Schools
Sylvia and Marcus are moving to Fairfax County this Summer. They have already made a couple of trips this Spring to get themselves familiar with the area, and to figure out which schools are the right ones for their kids.
Sylvia and Marcus’s have two kids: Emily and Sasha (rising 6th and 7th graders, respectively).
Emily and Sasha need great Elementary and Middle Schools
As part of their new home purchase, Sylvia and Marcus are looking to find highly-ranked Fairfax County Elementary Schools, as well as great Middle Schools for each of their kids.
And, since they’re planning on staying in Fairfax County for several years, they want to make sure that the High School is also very strong academically.
But how to identify schools with strong academics?
One way to identify schools with high academic scores is to use the Standards of Learning (SOL) passing rates.
The Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests are standardized tests applied at all the public schools in Virginia. These tests are useful to see how well a school scored above the district’s average; it’s one of the ways you can use to compare one school vs. another.
To help Sylvia and Marcus with comparing schools with good academics, we compiled for them a table of the average SOL pass rates of all the schools in Fairfax County.
How did we come up with this SOL pass rates table?
Our process was pretty straight forward (but time-consuming):
- First, we downloaded a spreadsheet with detailed pass rates for each of the 200+ schools (from the Virginia Department of Education’s website).
- Next, for each school’s spreadsheet, we averaged the school’s passing rate in each of the 5 tests administered. This gave us an overall average for the school.
- Then, we recorded each school’s average on the SOL pass rates comparison table.
Since there are over 200 schools in Fairfax County, publishing the entire table here would be too long, so here you have a subset of it, with the top 20% Elementary Schools:
The Top 20% Fairfax County Elementary Schools
(Ranking by SOL scores 2011-2012)
Ranking (by SOL Scores)
|Fairfax County |
|Average SOL Score||High School Pyramid
(and HS Ranking by SOL Scores)
|# 1||Wolftrap ES||98||# 3 Madison|
|# 1||Westbriar ES||98||# 8 Marshall|
|# 1||Haycock ES||98||# 9 McLean|
|# 2||Greenbriar West ES||97||#12 Chantilly|
|# 2||Churchill Road ES||97||# 1 Langley|
|# 2||Great Falls ES||97||# 1 Langley|
|# 2||Chesterbrook ES||97||# 9 McLean|
|# 2||Canterbury Woods ES||97||#11 Woodson|
|# 3||Oak Hill ES||96||#12 Chantilly|
|# 3||Willow Springs ES||96||# 2 Fairfax|
|# 3||Colvin Run ES||96||# 1 Langley|
|# 3||Spring Hill ES||96||# 1 Langley|
|# 3||Sherman ES||96||# 9 McLean|
|# 3||Keene Mill ES||96||# 4 West Springfield|
|# 4||Mount Daniel ES||95||# 6 George Mason|
|# 4||Thomas Jefferson ES||95||# 6 George Mason|
|# 4||Sangster ES||95||#15 Lake Braddock|
|# 4||Flint Hill ES||95||# 3 Madison|
|# 4||Louise Archer ES||95||# 3 Madison|
|# 4||Vienna ES||95||# 3 Madison|
|# 4||Navy ES||95||#10 Oakton|
|# 4||Fox Mill ES||95||#10 Oakton|
|# 4||Mosby Woods ES||95||#10 Oakton|
|# 4||Hunters Woods ES||95||#31 South Lakes|
|# 4||West Springfield ES||95||# 4 West Springfield|
|# 4||Floris ES||95||#24 Westfield|
|# 4||Mantua ES||95||#11 Woodson|
|# 4||Wakefield Forest ES||95||#11 Woodson|
|# 5||Poplar Tree ES||94||#12 Chantilly|
|# 5||Forestville ES||94||# 1 Langley|
|# 5||Lemon Road ES||94||# 8 Marshall|
|# 5||Westgate ES||94||# 8 Marshall|
|# 5||Kent Gardens ES||94||# 9 McLean|
|# 5||Oakton ES||94||#10 Oakton|
|# 5||Hunt Valley ES||94||# 4 West Springfield|
Using the SOL pass rates table, Sylvia and Marcus quickly compared schools
The SOL pass rates table helped Sylvia and Marcus decide quickly whether the combination of Elementary and Middle schools assigned to a particular home met their children’s academic needs.
What the SOL pass rates table didn’t tell them
What this table didn’t tell Sylvia and Marcus was how good a school was beyond the standardized test results. After all, how can a test score tell you if the school is “just right”?
To finish off their research, Sylvia and Marcus narrowed down their school choices and went to visit them. During their visits, they saw the facilities, they got a feel for how large each school was, they got to meet some principals (plus some of the staff), and Sasha and Emily even met a bunch of happy kids.
While the visit to the schools ultimately sealed Sylvia and Marcus’s deal for their favorite schools, the SOL pass rates table helped them narrow down the 200+ choices that they faced at the start.
If you want to access the entire interactive table of SOL average pass rates for ALL the Fairfax County Schools (including Elementary, Middle, High, and Secondary Schools), click here:
Access the interactive Fairfax County Public Schools ranking table (by SOL pass rates) – remember to log in first!
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image by dottiemae on Flickr