CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia students who took the General Summative Assessment in spring 2015 scored higher than last year’s national field tests indicated they would in the area of English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA), according to preliminary results released today by State Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano.
Preliminary results released today at the State Board of Education meeting show students exceeded the national ELA proficiency projections set by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium in grades 3-8 and 11. In addition, students in grade 3 exceeded these projections in both ELA and mathematics by 8 percentage points and 5 percentage points respectively.
Martirano said scores in grade 3 should be emphasized because those students have been taught based on the new standards for four years.
“Our Next Generation Standards have been in place for our third grade students since they attended kindergarten,” Martirano said. “Their performance on this assessment demonstrates the effectiveness of our state education standards which resulted in higher proficiency scores.”
Martirano also celebrated students’ ELA scores. “The fact that our students out performed expectations in literacy this first year is a testament to the work our teachers are doing in reading, writing, listening, speaking and research.”
However, scores in math and science show there is still work to be done. Proficiency levels in math were below the national Smarter Balanced cuts by as much as 13 percentage points. Students in grades 4, 6 and 10 were administered a science test and scores declined by 2 percentage points in fourth grade, 1 percentage point in sixth grade and 4 percentage points in 10th grade when compared to scores from 2014.
“While I believe we should celebrate the successes of our students, I also want to use these results as a guide for the areas where we need to improve,” Martirano said. “It’s clear we must remain steadfast in our commitment to increase student achievement in the areas of math and science. We are committed to providing high levels of rigor to ensure our students graduate high school college and career ready.”
In the spirit of transparency, today’s preliminary statewide results were made available earlier than expected. The results are the first to measure West Virginia students’ progress toward the academic goals laid out in the Next Generation standards, which were designed to ensure students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college and the 21st century world of work.
“This first year of assessment has provided baseline data from which we can compare student achievement moving forward,” said Dr. Vaughn Rhudy, Executive Director of the Office of Assessment. “It is important to remember this is a reset year and we anticipate student scores to increase as we move forward.”
Rhudy went on to discuss the success the state of Kentucky has seen in its student assessment scores. Kentucky has been administering an assessment aligned to new standards for four years and is beginning to see improvement in student achievement over time.
“What is happening in Kentucky provides further evidence why West Virginia needs to stay the course to observe how student achievement will be affected year after year,” Rhudy said.
With an eye to the future, Martirano is encouraged this school year will be even more impactful for students. “Because our standards are now fully cemented and continue to be delivered with high quality by our dedicated teachers, we will have a much clearer gauge of how students are performing,” Martirano said. “A variety of tools, including interim and diagnostic tests and an online library of instructional resources, will be available early in the school year to help schools engage in high-quality instruction and prepare for the summative assessment.”
An analysis of the data shows students who spent more time answering the questions achieved higher scores. “Time on task matters, and the results support the importance of taking the time necessary to respond to the questions on the assessment,” Martirano said.
The Superintendent is also pleased to receive support from higher education. This past Friday, the Higher Education Policy Commission accepted a policy revision that would allow high school graduates to be exempt from remedial classes in college if they score a level 3 or higher in ELA or math on the West Virginia General Summative Assessment.
Since the student test scores released today establish a new baseline, they should not be compared to previous statewide test scores. As with any change, there will be a period of adjustment, as teachers and students get used to the new standards and tests.
For additional information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us.