Students Show Gains in Mathematics on National Assessment

September 25, 2007

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia fourth- and eighth-grade students made significant increases in math on the Nation’s Report Card, according to data released today by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

The Nation’s Report Card, also referred to as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), tests a representative sample of students statewide by distributing the assessment questions in each content area among groups of test takers who take different versions of the test. The sample includes 2,500 to 3,000 students.  About 50 percent of NAEP questions require more than a multiple choice answer. Students must provide thorough written responses to the questions.

The average math score for West Virginia fourth grade students increased by five points from 231 in 2005 to 236 in 2007. The math score for West Virginia eighth grade students improved from 269 in 2005 to 270 in 2007.

“The increase in our NAEP math scores are reflective of what I expect to see across the board in all core academic subjects as the state’s 21st Century Learning initiative is integrated into every classroom in West Virginia,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “All of our students will be taking courses that are more rigorous next year. I anticipate changes in the performance of our students not only on the NAEP but also on the SAT, ACT and the WESTEST in upcoming years.”

In November 2005, West Virginia became the second state in the nation to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. As a result, the West Virginia Department of Education adopted six elements of 21st century learning that focus on basics like math, science and reading as well as problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills. The state Board of Education also has strengthened the curriculum to add rigor and increase alignment with national and international assessments. Those include the National Assessment for Education Progress, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).  In addition to increasing the level of cognitive demand and embedding 21st century learning skills within the new curriculum, West Virginia is developing a guide to help students increase their mathematical knowledge and skills which, in turn, will improve their performance on assessments.  A similar student guide will be developed focusing on writing.

Meanwhile, the 2007 NAEP reading scores for both fourth and eighth grade students remained steady at 215 and 255 respectively.

It is important to point out that West Virginia has made great strides to include all students in NAEP testing. Any student capable of taking the WESTEST, the state assessment, was required to take the NAEP exam if chosen through the random sampling. In grade four reading, West Virginia has an exclusion rate of 2 percent.   This is the lowest in the country along with Mississippi.  In eighth grade reading, West Virginia has an exclusion rate of 2 percent.  This is again the lowest in the country along with Alaska. More information on exclusion rates can be found at the following link:

For more information regarding the NAEP results contact, the WVDE Communications Office at (304) 558-2699 or visit



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