NAEP Trends Show Solid Student Improvement

November 01, 2011

Charleston, W.Va. – Math scores are adding up on the Nation’s Report Card for the state’s fourth and eighth grade students, according to data released today by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

The Nation’s Report Card, also referred to as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), tests a representative sample of students statewide by distributing assessment questions in content areas among groups of test takers who take different versions of the test.

The average math score for West Virginia fourth grade students increased by two points from 233 in 2009 to 235 on 2011.  Math scores for students in eighth grade jumped by three points from 270 in 2009 to 273 in 2011, a statistically significant increase.

“These scores are good news for West Virginia,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Wade Linger. “Our students are moving in the right direction and they should be recognized for their hard work.” 

In 2008, students across the state began focusing on more rigorous curriculum as part of Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) updated its Content Standards and Objectives (CSOs) to include rigor, relevance and 21st century performance skills.  Traditional subjects, including math, science, English, social studies and foreign languages, remain at the core of Global21. But the foundation is strengthened with the addition of performance skills, including critical thinking and problem solving.

“We are optimistic about the statistically significant increase in mathematics,” said Jorea Marple, state Superintendent of Schools. “Research shows that it takes time for change to take hold in the educational arena but we believe what students are learning as part of Global21 is on target.”

Changes in fourth and eighth grade NAEP reading scores were not statistically significant. The fourth grade reading score decreased one point from 215 in 2009 to 214 in 2011.  Eighth grade student reading scores increased from 255 in 2009 to 256 in 2011.

 “Now that we have set the course, I believe that teachers are the key to student growth,” said Marple. “Principals and county administrators must ensure that the new curriculum is being taught in the classroom and assessed throughout the school year.”

West Virginia has made great strides to include all students in NAEP testing. Any student capable of taking the WESTEST2 was required to take the NAEP exam if chosen through the random sampling. In grades four and eight mathematics, West Virginia has an exclusion rate of only two percent.  

For more information regarding the NAEP results contact, the WVDE Communications Office at (304) 558-2699 or visit

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