- Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) measures children's knowledge of important literacy fundamentals. PALS is administered three times a year to all kindergartners and 1st-graders except for 1st-graders who reach a high benchmark. Second graders continue to participate in PALS until they reach a high benchmark. The PALS fall screening is required for 3rd-grade students new to Virginia schools and for those who received intervention services during the summer. PALS spring screening continues into the 3rd grade but only for students who received intervention services during the school year.
- Standards of Learning tests (SOLs), criterion-referenced tests, assess student achievement on the SOLs adopted by the State Board of Education. These assessments are in English, mathematics, history/social science, and science for grades 3, 5, 8 and selected high school courses. In addition, students in grades 4, 6, and 7 take SOL assessments in English-Reading and math. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, all students desiring to earn an advanced or standard diploma must meet requirements for verified credits in order to graduate. Verified credits are credits earned by passing a given class and the SOL End-of-Course test (SOL/EOC) for that class. Students earning a Modified Standard Diploma must pass 8th-grade English and math SOL Tests. SOLs may also be used as a factor in making promotion/retention decisions for students in grades 3-8 and in determining final grades for selected high school courses.
School district assessments are used to help teachers make appropriate instructional decisions concerning review, remediation, acceleration, and/or placement. Some of these assessments may also be used as a factor in making promotion/retention decisions.
District assessments include:
- Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests measure word knowledge and ability to comprehend information from different types of prose for students in grades 5-8.
- NPS Quarterly Content Assessments are criterion-referenced tests aligned with the SOLs and district curricula in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies for students in grades 3-10.
- Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is administered to all first graders as one step in the process of screening students for gifted education services.
Nationally administered tests that are available to NPS middle and high school students include the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), various Advanced Placement (AP) tests, International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations, and the American College Test (ACT).