Hundreds of State Schools Showing Improvements in Academic Proficiency and Student Growth

December 05, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - More than 300 West Virginia schools are showing improvements in either one or both academic proficiency and student growth. The good news was released statewide on ZoomWV ( as part of the West Virginia Department of Education's (WVDE) accountability designation announcement.

As part of the accountability system, every public school is designated as either a Success, Transition, Focus, Support or Priority school. West Virginia’s accountability system uses several measures to determine school designations including student proficiency rates from the WESTEST2, student growth measures, achievement gap calculations, and either attendance rates for elementary and middle schools or graduation rates for high schools.

Of the 650 West Virginia schools included in the accountability system, 119 met both student performance and growth expectations and earned a Success designation. Another 180 schools earned a Transition designation because they showed some progress in meeting either student proficiency or student growth goals. This year, 215 schools earned a Support designation - a school that has not met its target score and has not demonstrated that a majority of its subgroups are making sufficient academic progress.

The remaining schools were either Priority, Focus, Support PR or new facilities. Priority and Focus schools were designated after the results of the statewide assessment in 2012-2013. Priority schools will carry this designation for three years in order to receive the necessary supports to improve student achievement. A total of 97 schools were designated as Focus schools, those with the largest achievement gaps between student subgroups in the state. Focus schools keep this designation for up to three years or until they show improvement. Schools designated as Support PR did not meet the requirement to test at least 95 percent of students, and therefore the school results are not valid for interpretation.

  SY 2012-2013 SY 2013-2014
School Designation Number of Schools Number of Schools
Priority 31 29
Focus 97 97
Support 75 215
Support-PR 7 6
Transition 257 180
Success 190 119

It is important to point out that each school's individual target increased. Due to this increase in the target, many more schools did not meet their targets. It is for that reason that there is a decrease in the number of Success schools, and an increase in the number of Support schools.

"School designations allow communities to better understand how a school is doing and perhaps, more importantly, the areas where schools may be struggling and need some help," said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano. "We are dedicated to improving graduation rates, increasing school attendance rates and decreasing dropout rates as part of the One Voice, One Focus Vision Plan. I believe understanding and utilizing student assessment and school accountability data is part of the journey to improvement."

Student assessments give teachers and parents invaluable information on how to personalize instruction for students. Each year approximately 182 thousand students take the WESTEST2. Of those students, 133 thousand in grades 3 - 8 and 11 are counted as part of the accountability system. Of those students, 42 percent were proficient in math and 47 percent were proficient in reading.

ALL 42%
African American 29%
Low SES 32%
Special Education 16%
ALL 47%
African American 36%
Low SES 38%
Special Education 15%

Of the 182 thousand students who took the WESTEST 2, the state has math and reading student growth information on approximately 131 thousand students in grades 4-10. The results indicate that of the students who are proficient, most are on track to stay proficient; unfortunately, for students who are not proficient, most are not on track to become proficient.


Of the 42% of students who reached the proficiency level in math:

  • 61% are keeping up with growth expectations
  • 39% are not keeping up with growth expectations

Of the 58% of students who did NOT meet the proficiency level in math:

  • 24% are catching up to their peers' growth levels
  • 76% are not catching up to their peers' growth levels


Of the 47% of students who reached the proficiency level in reading:

  • 66% are keeping up with growth expectations
  • 34% are not keeping up with growth expectations

Of the 53% of students who did NOT meet the proficiency level in reading:

  • 31% are catching up to their peers' growth levels
  • 69% are not catching up to their peers' growth levels

Next year, schools will receive an A-F grade instead of the current designation. The West Virginia Board of Education is leading the transition to the A-F Grading System. This new system will rely on an inherent understanding of what an A-F grade indicates. Having a relevant scale that parents, teachers and administrators clearly understand creates a system that holds schools accountable for what is considered their core mission - increasing student achievement. The A-F Grading System also will help target and support students who are not proficient and not expected to improve in the future. You can learn more about the A-F Grading System by downloading an FAQ flyer

For more information about school designation and statewide assessments results, visit ZoomWV or contact the WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699.

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