West Virginia One of 11 States Throughout The U.S. to Volunteer to Take the 12th Grade NAEP Exam

November 23, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.VA. – The West Virginia Department of Education has gathered important baseline data by becoming one of only 11 states to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 12th grade pilot.


“The 12th grade NAEP state pilot has given West Virginia an opportunity to begin gauging whether our 12th graders are college and career ready,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “The other 10 states that participated in the pilot traditionally score higher on fourth and eighth grade NAEP exams. The goal of participating was to find out exactly where our 12th graders were performing. Senior year is a crucial time: when students graduate, they will either further their educations or enter job training. It’s imperative that we are able to assess their achievement in such basic and important areas as reading and mathematics. Now we have a starting point.”


The 2009 NAEP tested representative samples of 12th graders from 1,670 schools across the nation. About 52,000 students were assessed in reading and 49,000 in mathematics. The test is administered and analyzed by the National Center for Education Statistics. States were not selected based on geography or size, and are also not representative of the nation.

“I applaud the leadership of West Virginia and the 10 other states for being involved in such an important assessment of our nation’s 12th graders,” said David Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP. “While West Virginia acknowledges they have a long way to go in general, their 12th grade student achievement results for African-American students is  worthy of note.”


The average score of all students tested in West Virginia was 141 for mathematics. The average reading score for the same group of students was 279. Meanwhile, the state’s African-American students scored 275 on the reading portion of the exam, seven points higher than the national average of 268. 

“We are encouraged to see African-American students performing at high levels as my state has focused its efforts at the school, district and state levels to improve the achievement of all students, particularly minority and impoverished children,” Paine said.

The pilot exam was administered to high school seniors in West Virginia just as more rigorous content standards were introduced into the classroom in 2008 as part of Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it. Global21 includes traditional subjects, such as reading, math, science, English, social studies and foreign language, but this foundation is strengthened with the addition of performance skills, including critical thinking and problem solving.

“Research shows that any time change takes place in the educational arena at first there is a dip in achievement levels,” Paine said. “I hope to see significant achievement increases by 2011. I am confident the steps outlined in Global21 will lead to real student achievement across all grade levels as we help our kids to be globally intelligent and resilient in a digital world.”

Grade 12 reading results are reported as average scores on a 0 to 500 scale, and mathematics scores are reported on a 0 to 300 scale. The Nation’s Report Card: Grade 12 Reading and Mathematics 2009 is available at http://nationsreportcard.gov

--The West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) are committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it., West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average. 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.