WV Student Science Scores Competitive with the Nation

January 25, 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia students are cultivating some positive science results. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the state’s fourth and eighth grade students are showing solid science scores on the Nation’s Report Card.

West Virginia’s fourth grade students averaged a score of 148 on the 2009 science assessment. The national average was 149. The state’s eighth grade students averaged a science score of 145, compared to the national score of 149.
“These results are very encouraging especially since the science assessment was given only a few months after our students were exposed to more rigorous science content as part of Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.,” said state Superintendent of Schools Ted Mattern.
As part of Global21, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) updated its Content Standards and Objectives (CSO) to include rigor, relevance and 21st century performance skills.  Traditional subjects, including math, science, English, social studies and foreign languages, remain at the core of Global21. But the foundation is strengthened with the addition of performance skills, including critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving.
The new science CSOs were just being implemented by teachers when students took the NAEP 2009 science test. By the end of the 2008 – 2009 school year, students showed improvement on the WESTEST 2, the state’s assessment.  In 2009, 78 percent of schools accountable under the federal No Child Left Behind Act met high levels of learning. In 2010, 81 percent met high levels of learning. WESTEST 2 is aligned to NAEP.
The 2009 NAEP focused on three key areas: physical science, life science and earth and space sciences. It is important to note that the 2009 scores cannot be compared to earlier years because in 2009 the assessment was updated to include questions classified as one content area but also required knowledge in one or both of the other content areas.  
“What we value in West Virginia is constant improvement in student achievement and learning,” Mattern said. “These results reinforce that the decisions we’ve made to assure our students are college and career ready when they graduate from high school are paying off.”
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 assessment questions in content areas among groups of test takers who take different versions of the test.
For more information, contact the WVDE Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.
--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.

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