West Virginia Board of Education Seeks Public Comment on Policy to Reduce Testing in Schools

November 13, 2015

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) voted to open a 30-day public comment period on a policy that would streamline the state requirements for testing students during its board meeting today. Board members considered proposed changes to Policy 2340, West Virginia Measures of Academic Progress.

The changes will significantly decrease the amount of formal testing by eliminating social studies testing in all grades and eliminating testing in science in grades 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11. The revised policy will still be in compliance with the national Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which only requires one science test be administered at each programmatic level.

In addition, the revised policy removes the requirements to administer the ACT EXPLORE, ACT PLAN and ACT COMPASS assessments. ACT COMPASS will be replaced with the administration of a mutually agreed-upon assessment to determine whether a student has met the college- and career-readiness standards prior to graduation from high school in Grade 12.

“These changes signify a reduction in the amount of time our students will spend taking statewide formal assessments,” said Board of Education President, Mike Green. “While we recognize the importance of testing, we must also find the right balance with instruction and formative assessments administered by our teachers throughout the year.”

As a next step following the community review of the K-12 academic standards, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano also announced the creation of the “Superintendent’s Commission on Assessment.” The Commission, comprised of education experts, lawmakers, higher education representatives and students, will be tasked with reviewing current formal assessment practices in West Virginia and making recommendations for changes to help alleviate concerns coming out of the education field. A review of all state-required assessments was a logical next step following the conclusion of the Academic Spotlight standards review.

“We must ensure we are requiring meaningful assessments that benefit both our students and teachers,” Martirano said. “Ultimately, our goal is to identify a long-term formal assessment solution to allow trends to be established and to aid educators.”

Martirano anticipates recommendations from the Commission to be brought before the Board of Education by spring 2016.

For more information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at (304) 558­-2699 or kristin.anderson@k12.wv.us.

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