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West Virginia Posts Highest Marks in the Nation

January 07, 1999

For the third year in a row West Virginia posted the highest education marks of any state in the "Quality Counts" report, released today by Education Week. Despite an ever higher standard by which school systems are judged, West Virginia received the highest overall score of any state, achieving top honors in the study which evaluates the states on standards and assessments, quality of teaching, school climate, and adequacy, equity and allocation of resources.  

"For any state to achieve this recognition in a single year is remarkable. For West Virginia's education system to be recognized three consecutive years is truly phenomenal," said State Superintendent Henry Marockie. "Clearly, it is tribute to all West Virginians–teachers, parents, lawmakers, and the business community–that due to their commitment to excellence and equity in education, the state has received this unprecedented recognition."  

West Virginia earned an A-(tied for fourth place) for its curriculum standards and its system of assessing student performance. Approval ratings were issued for each of the four core areas (math, science, language arts and social studies) for programmatic levels of elementary, middle and senior high.  

According to "Quality Counts," the quality of teaching in West Virginia rated a solid B (tied for 11th place). West Virginia was graded down because it does not assess classroom performance of teachers, provide incentives for teachers to obtain national board certification or require secondary teachers to hold a degree in the specific subject areas they teach.  

The grade for school climate (D+, representing 18th place) was unchanged from last year because no new data was available from the federal government.  

Resources are evaluated in three distinct areas with individual grades assigned to each. For adequacy West Virginia received an A, placing second only to Hawaii. For allocation West Virginia received a C, placing 21st in rank. Allocation considers only the percentage of education funding that directly impacts the interaction between students and teachers, i.e., teacher salaries and materials used in the classroom. The state received B+ for equity in funding its school districts, again second only to Hawaii.  

The Quality Counts report was made possible by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to do a comprehensive study of efforts to improve education in the nation's K-12 public schools.

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