West Virginia is one of 12 states that earned an A for standards and accountability this year. The high mark is much in thanks to the state’s standards-based exams in all core subjects and grade spans. According to Quality Counts, West Virginia scored at the top of the chart because the state adopted clear and specific standards in English, math and science.
“The 2005 Quality Counts report indicates that we are headed in the right direction,” said State Superintendent of Schools David Stewart. “Our teachers, administrators and students are achieving at higher levels today than ever before. While Quality Counts is only one of many education studies, and the state does not set its standards based on such reports, receiving such high ratings from this national report is a nice pat on the back.”
West Virginia also ranks among the top 15 states for its efforts to improve teacher quality. The state received a B- in the teacher quality section of the report. Quality Counts credits a fully funded one year mentoring program for new teachers; a newly adopted framework for alternative routes to teacher certification; required basic skills tests and subject matter exams for traditional teacher candidates; and classroom observation by state trained assessors for the high mark.
West Virginia received a C+ in the school climate category due to what is noted as limited open enrollment data and the lack of charter school legislation.
West Virginia ranked fifth in the nation under the equity section of the report. The state has few differences in education spending per pupil across districts. The report also indicates that West Virginia spends $8,756 per pupil, more than one thousand dollars above the national average.
Quality Counts is published by Education Week, a weekly education magazine distributed nationwide. Quality Counts 2005, the ninth annual report, focused on changing school finance systems and the growing push to link funding to student performance.