West Virginia Students Score High In Science

August 17, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. – From ecology to engineering, West Virginia students are making sense out of science. West Virginia high school students graduating in 2005 averaged 20.4 in science, up from 20.3 in 2004.  

The state’s science scores aren’t the only good news! West Virginia high school graduates continue to score above the national average in English on the ACT. The West Virginia average is 20.5 while the national average continues to be 20.4.  

The state averages for mathematics and reading reflect slight declines. The average score in mathematics in West Virginia is 19.3 compared to 19.4 in 2004. In reading, the average score for West Virginia students is 20.9 compared to 21.3 in 2004.  

“While West Virginia students have great cause for celebration regarding the 2005 ACT scores, there are many areas in which our schools must focus if we expect future success,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “For example, increasing math performance is absolutely critical to develop college readiness skills and 21st Century Skills.”  

Male students continue to score slightly higher than their female classmates in mathematics (20.0 to 18.8) and science (20.9 to 20.0). Female students continue to slightly outperform their male classmates in English (21.0 to 20.0) and reading (21.1 to 20.7).  

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will institute initiatives that result in more rigorous, college preparatory courses to include diverse instructional strategies and processes as the way to create the most powerful impact on ACT scores and student achievement.  

Already, the WVDE has increased the high school graduation requirements. Students entering grade nine in 2005-2006 will be required to have three mathematics credits with at least two of the three credits being algebra I and above. For students entering grade nine in 2006-2007, this changes to four math credits with at least two of the four credits being algebra I and above.  

Other initiatives recently launched include the implementation of a five-year plan to improve student achievement in mathematics. Math leadership teams from all 55 counties have received professional development on standards based math curriculum and instruction. In addition, for the first time ever, West Virginia middle schools and high schools will be asked to create ACT teams. The teams will analyze test data and provide instructional practices for their schools.  

“The 2005 ACT scores indicate that taking one more mathematics course can add 2.6 points to the average mathematics score. West Virginia students who took algebra I, algebra II, geometry, trigonometry and calculus scored on average 23.0 in mathematics compared to 21.1 for those who only took algebra I, algebra II, geometry, trigonometry and another advanced mathematics course,” said Paine. “The 2005 ACT scores also provide evidence that by adding physics to coursework, science scores can increase from 1.7 to 2.3 points.”  

Approximately the same number of students took the ACT in 2005 as in 2004. In 2004, 11,486 students took the ACT; in 2005, 11,451 students took the ACT. This number represents 65% of the 2005 high school graduates in West Virginia.  

The ACT Assessment is the nation’s most widely accepted college admission and placement exam. The exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest score possible. ACT scores are accepted as admission tests at virtually all colleges and universities in the nation.  

For more information regarding the 2005 ACT scores, contact Dr. Jan Barth, Office of Student Assessment Executive Director, at (304) 558-2546.  

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