CHARLESTON, W.Va - Education Week's Quality Counts 2015: Preparing to Launch - Early Childhood's Academic Countdown ranks West Virginia's public school system No. 27 in the country with a C. The overall national average was also a C according to the magazine's annual review of public education.
The 19th annual edition of Quality Counts continues the tradition of tracking key education indicators and grading states on their performance and outcomes. This year's report considered school finance, an Early Education Index and a Chance for Success Index. The report also included previous data from a 2014 K-12 Achievement Index.
"Quality Counts reinforces that we are moving in the right direction and can be proud of the progress we have made in many educational areas such as early education," said state Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano. "The report also reminds us that we still have a lot of work to do to realize the graduation, attendance and student achievement goals in the One Voice, One Focus - All Students Achieving Vision Plan. We need to continue to work tirelessly to help all children reach their full potential and ensure that every student graduates from high school college and career ready."
West Virginia received a B+ in the magazine's school finance section earning a No. 2 ranking. The category considers school spending patterns and the distribution of resources within a state. The national average was a C.
This year's report placed a focus on early childhood education as its special theme, examining how new academic demands and accountability pressures are altering the learning environment for young children and the educators serving them. West Virginia received a C+ in the Early Education Index earning a ranking of No. 6 in the nation.
West Virginia has repeatedly received national accolades for its preschool programs, including being recognized by the Children's Defense Fund as one of only 11 states and the District of Columbia to offer free full-day kindergarten. In addition, West Virginia students benefit from a progressive state law that required universal preschool to be offered to all of the state's 4-year-olds by the 2012-2013 school year. As of 2014, West Virginia's Universal Pre-K Program met 9 of 10 quality benchmarks in the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) State of Pre-K Yearbook. The state is slated to meet all 10 benchmarks with the 2015 NIEER State of Pre-K Yearbook.
Under the Chance for Success Index, West Virginia received a C - ranking No. 47 in the nation. The average state score was a C+. The Chance for Success Index considered family income, parental education, employment and English-speaking ability, preschool and kindergarten enrollment, student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), high school graduation, and young adult and adult educational attainment.
Quality Counts ranked West Virginia No. 47 in the K-12 Achievement Index. In addition to utilizing NAEP scores, this section of the report focused on current levels of performance, improvements over time, and achievement gaps between poor and non-poor students.
Education Week is a weekly education magazine distributed nationwide. For more information on Quality Counts 2015, contact Liza Cordeiro, WVDE Office of Communication Office, at (304) 558-2699.