CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) approved Policy 2320, A Process for Improving Education: Performance Based Accreditation System at its monthly meeting in Charleston. During his 2014 State of the State Address Governor Earl Ray Tomblin charged the board with adopting a policy that would assign an A through F grade to public schools.
The policy creates the new grading system for all West Virginia public schools. The grading system is a straightforward A- F structure that communicates student achievement progress to parents, students and schools.
Last year, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) received approval from the U.S. Department of Education to implement a new school accountability system. The system looked at WESTEST proficiency scores, student academic growth, attendance rates, graduation rates, and achievement gaps between groups of students.
The A-F system looks at much of the same student data BUT puts an increased focus on student and school performance. There is also a change related to student “subgroups” which ensures all students are held accountable and schools are treated equally.
Gayle Manchin, president of the WVBE states, “All students have the ability to learn and grow, and a strong accountability system must capture measures of that growth. By focusing on both mastery of content and growth, a true picture of how a student and school are doing is apparent. Having a scale that parents, teachers and administrators clearly understand and is relevant creates a system that holds schools accountable for what is considered their core mission – increasing student achievement. While the ultimate goal is that all students will be performing on grade level, the reality is that many are not. It is critical that all stakeholders in West Virginia schools know exactly where we stand.”
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin applauded the board’s action saying, “This is a transparent education accountability system that rates student progress and performance in every West Virginia school using language that parents and the community can understand.”
The WVBE will assign schools their first letter grades in the fall of 2015. Letter grades will be assigned annually thereafter.
The revised policy was up for public comment for 30 days and responses were taken under consideration during the board meeting. The updated policy can be found at http://apps.sos.wv.gov/adlaw/csr/readfile.aspx?DocId=25775&Format=PDF).
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communication Office at (304) 558-2699.