Improving Math Education in W.Va.

One more study showing solid education in mathematics and science is important in finding a good job has been released by the U.S. Department of Education.

Meanwhile, most public schools in West Virginia are not doing well in teaching math, according to the state’s own numbers.

State testing gauges whether students in different grade levels are proficient in various subjects. During the last round of such testing, just 24 schools in the entire state had more than two-thirds of their students score proficient in math. At many schools, fewer than half the students hit the proficient level.

Here in the Northern Panhandle, our schools hit both extremes on math proficiency. The very worst test results on math, with just 16.6 percent of students rated proficient, were at Hundred High School in Wetzel County.

On the other hand, three of the 24 top schools were in Ohio County. Steenrod, West Liberty and Woodsdale elementary schools each had more than two-thirds of students score proficient in math.

Michael Martirano, who will become the new state superintendent of schools this fall, has said improving math education is one of his priorities. “I want the whole state galvanized around improving reading and numeracy,” he commented.

Good. Clearly, however, a gigantic gap exists between math education now and what West Virginia students deserve. One way to change that may be to study and emulate schools that are doing well – comparatively – with math.