W.Va. Math Scores Up, Language Arts Down

Saunders: Ohio County above state average

Photo Provided Ohio County Schools Federal Programs Director Walt Saunders reads to students at Elm Grove Elementary School during the 2016-17 school year.

WHEELING — Standardized test scores for West Virginia students across the state in 2017 show improvement over last year’s marks in math, while language arts scores are down slightly from last year.

The West Virginia Department of Education this week released to school districts the preliminary results of the 2017 West Virginia General Summative Assessment.

It was the third and final year the test will be administered to students in grades 3-9, and in grade 11. High school juniors next year will instead take a college entrance exam as their from of standardized test, and elementary and middle school students will see a new type of standardized assessment.

The figures show math proficiency in grade 4 improving from 40 percent to 43 percent; in grade 5, from 33 to 34 percent; in grade 6, from 29 to 32 percent; in grade 7, 30 to 31 percent; in grade 8, from 27 to 29 percent; and in grade 11, 21 to 22 percent.

Math scores for grade 3 decreased slightly from 49 percent to 48 percent.

Language arts results show proficiency dropping for grade 3 students from 48 to 45 percent; grade 4, from 48 to 47 percent; grade 5, from 51 to 49 percent; grade 6, 46 to 45 percent; and in grade 8, 47 percent to 45 percent. Language arts marks held steady in grade 7 at 48 percent; and improved in grade 11 from 49 to 50 percent.

Detailed data pertaining to individual school districts isn’t yet available to the public as school administrators review the information, but they plan to send the information home with students during the first week of classes. Information pertaining to specific schools will be available later in the fall, and 2017 data as it becomes available will be posted on the WVDOE website, zoomwv.k12.wv.us/Dashboard/portalHome.jsp.

Ohio County Schools Assessment and Federal Programs Director Walt Saunders has reviewed the data, and said Ohio County Schools “is above the state average in all categories.”

“We’re looking at the big picture now,” he said. “When the teachers come back Monday, they will begin the analyzing to get ready for the mapping process so we can target areas of weakness and keep our strengths going. We need to support our strengths, and if there are weaknesses we need to address them.”

Saunders said Ohio County has made it a priority to improve math scores in the school district, and this has resulted in improvement.

“We never will be pleased because there’s always room for improvement,” he said. “But we’ve showed growth, and we want to continue that.”

Superintendent Kim Miller said the standardized testing each spring isn’t the only testing given students.

“Our teachers and staff do assessments throughout the year to target students’ strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “We analyze the data, and target where a student needs improvement. And if needed, we work one-on-one with the student and provide enrichment activities.”

In Marshall County, Karen Klamut, director of student services, Title I and student assessments, said she was encouraged by results posted by students in her district.

“We are pleased we are seeing growth from year to year,” she said.

Math scores are up in the county — more at the elementary level than at the high school level, according to Klamut. She reports language arts marks also improved in the county.