WV Students Show Steady Improvement in Total Basic Skills

July 05, 2000

For the third straight year, West Virginia's students have shown improvement in total basic skills on the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition, (SAT-9). Results released on June 30 by the West Virginia Department of Education indicate that students in the Mountain State are demonstrating steady improvement in the basic skills of reading, mathematics and language.  

"From the 1996-97 school year to the 1999-2000 school year, students in every grade level improved their performance on this assessment," said State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart.  

According to Dr. Stewart, such tremendous growth is attributed to outstanding teachers and the fact that West Virginia educators are providing quality instruction on the skills being assessed. Unlike many states, West Virginia?s instructional goals and objectives are aligned with the SAT-9 concepts, which means that teachers are teaching concepts and skills which are tested in a statewide assessment program.  

"West Virginia has taken a logical approach to establishing instructional goals and objectives and assessing educational progress," Dr. Stewart explained. "The benchmark established in 1996-97 -- when the SAT-9 was first administered -- has been raised each year, as students have continued to make progress in total basic skills." According to information released on June 30 by the Department of Education, students showed the following improvement from the 1996-97 school year to the 1999- 2000 school year in total basic skills: third grade, from the 58th percentile to the 66th percentile; fourth grade, 58th to 64th percentile; fifth grade, 58th to 63rd percentile; sixth grade, 63rd to 66th percentile; seventh grade, 57th to 61st percentile; eighth grade, 57th to 62nd percentile; ninth grade, 55th to 61st percentile; 10th grade, 54th to 61st percentile; and 11th grade, 56th to 61st percentile.  

Jan Barth, Executive Director, Office of Student Services and Assessment, West Virginia Department of Education, noted that the percentage of students scoring in the bottom quartile has declined over the past four years at every grade level, while the percentage of students scoring in the top two quartiles has increased over the past four years at every grade level.  

"The trend data indicate that the state is making steady and significant educational progress," she said."Teachers and principals are utilizing information gathered from this assessment to identify students needing additional assistance, and more students are raising their level of proficiency, according to SAT-9 results. The SAT-9 and other national assessments indicate that West Virginia students are making significant gains."  

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