Richmond’s students are lagging behind Virginia’s average on tests and graduation rates, but the city is trying to lessen the gap. According to the KIDS COUNT database, in the 2016-2017 school year 14.6 percent of students in Virginia were below the expected level for the PALS-K, which determines if a student’s readiness for kindergarten. In Richmond, 25 percent were below the expected level on the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screen. In the same year, 80.2 percent of high school students graduated within four years while 91.3 percent of Virginia’s students did the same. The KIDS COUNT database also shows that in the 2015-2016 school year, Virginia had a passing rate of 76 percent on the third grade Reading SOL, or Standards of Learning, a mandatory test going over the material students have learned throughout the year.