W.Va. Schools Receive an A in Annual Technology Report

March 30, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia is one of only two states to receive A’s for both use of technology and educator capacity to use technology in a new national report.
The 12th annual report, “Technology Counts 2009: Breaking Away From Tradition: E-Education Expands Opportunities for Raising Achievement,” was released this week by “Education Week,” the leading national publication covering K-12 education. Technology Counts issued letter grades to states in two main categories: policies related to the use of technology for learning, and policies designed to increase educators’ capacity to use technology. Unlike in past years, the report did not give overall state grades or grades in technology access because of a shortage of data.
“While this report reinforces that we are on the right track, I am cautiously optimistic about our ranking,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “In a digital world, it is more important than ever that West Virginia makes educational technology a top priority. Technology is the tool that makes 21st Century Learning work. It allows our teachers to share their vast knowledge in a way that grabs the interest of today’s techno savvy students.”
In 2008, West Virginia also received an A for the capacity to use technology, which highlighted a state’s use of technology in teacher and administrator standards, license requirements and recertification requirements. This year, the state improved to an A from an A- for the use of technology. This category rated each state’s use of virtual school courses and computer-based assessments.
“E-learning has evolved into a position where it is now being used more widely as a tool to offer better courses to high-achieving as well as low-achieving students who would not otherwise have access to those classes,” said Kevin Bushweller, executive project editor of “Technology Counts” and executive editor of “Education Week’s Digital Directions.”
Recent research shows that more than a million K-12 public school students took online courses nationwide during the 2007-2008 school year, a 47 percent jump from 2005-2006. The report also cites research indicating that the quality of online courses can be equal to or better than that of traditional classes.
The West Virginia Virtual School, which began with just three students in 2000, has hundreds of students across the state enrolled in about 2,000 online classes this school year. Most of the students are in middle or high school, although some elementary students also have signed up to take an online class.
The full report is available online at www.edweek.org. For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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