West Virginia Schools Measure Up as Federal Standards Increase
Posted: August 24, 2007
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More than 81 percent of West Virginia schools met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation in 2007. State Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine announced today that 564 schools made the grade!
“We are very proud of our administrators, teachers and students,” said Paine. “Even as the NCLB standards become more rigorous, our schools continue to close the achievement gap. In addition, our data indicates that each year students are scoring higher on the WESTEST.”
The standards that a school must achieve to meet AYP are increasing. The increase in standards is mandated by the federal government so that 100 percent of students meet the NCLB proficient level by 2014. In 2007, the standard increased approximately four to six percentage points in reading and math. Even with that increase, West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) data indicate that students are scoring higher on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test (WESTEST).
West Virginia Achieves, the state’s NCLB accountability plan, focuses on closing the achievement gap between student subgroups. All West Virginia students are required to take the WESTEST, an assessment that measures student achievement of the West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives (CSOs). AYP is determined by WESTEST scores and attendance or graduation rates.
A positive trend in the 2007 data shows that fewer schools face federal NCLB sanctions such as school choice, a decrease from 25 schools in 2006 to 19 schools in 2007. Another positive trend in the state’s NCLB data includes an increase in the number of African American students who met AYP. Of the 37 schools accountable for this subgroup, 32 schools met AYP, an increase from 29 schools in 2006.
While NCLB has played an important role in closing the achievement gap, its emphasis on standardized testing does not fully support the skills students need to be globally competitive.
“I am a strong supporter of educational accountability and believe in closing the achievement gap,” Paine said. “But we recognize that it is time for us also to focus on the quality mission and that means embedding 21st century skills into all that we teach.”
West Virginia became the second state in the nation to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills in 2005. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, along with the West Virginia Board of Education, the WVDE, state legislators, educators and other community members signed a statement of support indicating their commitment to 21st century learning. The partnership’s framework puts a special emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, global awareness and business literacy.
The West Virginia Board of Education and the WVDE in collaboration with the educational community have updated West Virginia CSOs to align with 21st century skills. The WESTEST also is being reviewed to reflect the changed CSOs.
For more information about West Virginia Achieves and the 2007 AYP numbers, visit the West Virginia Department of Education web site http://wvachieves.k12.wv.us/resources.html