West Virginia Students Make Steady Progress on Nation’s Report Card

June 19, 2003

CHARLESTON, W.Va.- Make room for the “Nation’s Report Card” on the refrigerator because the state’s fourth and eighth grade students continue to show improvement on the national reading assessment.  

The information released today by the National Center for Education Statistics is part of the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP).  

“We are extremely pleased to see that West Virginia students continue to show steady and significant progress in reading,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Stewart. “These scores correlate to progress in state reading achievement over the past few years. Along with the results of the 2003 NAEP reading assessment this fall, the 2002 results will provide a valuable benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness of our newly adopted Content Standards and Objectives and the WESTEST criterion-referenced statewide assessment.”  

The NAEP reading test measures reading for three purposes: literary experience, to gain information and to perform a task. NAEP scores are based on a scale of 500 points. The West Virginia 2002 reading results reflect the scores of more than 23 hundred fourth graders and 21 hundred eighth graders.  

There are three achievement levels assessed by NAEP testing: basic, proficient and advanced. Basic achievement is partial mastery of knowledge and skills; proficient signifies solid academic performance; and advanced means superior performance.  

The average scale score for West Virginia’s fourth graders improved from 216 in 1998 to 219 in 2002. The average scale scores for eighth graders also improved from 262 in 1998 to 264 in 2002.  

Students showed an improvement in the “at or above basic” category as well. Sixty-five percent of West Virginia’s fourth graders and 77 percent of eighth graders scored in the “at or above basic” category in 2002, compared to 60 percent and 75 percent in 1998.  

In the ‘at or above proficient’ category, the scores remained consistent. In both 2002 and 1998, 28 percent of fourth graders fell into this category. Eighth graders made a slight improvement in 2002. Twenty-nine percent scored in “at or above proficient,” compared to 28 percent in 1998.  

Thirty-five percent of the state’s fourth graders and 23 percent of the state’s eighth graders scored in the “below basic” category in 2002, compared to 40 percent of fourth graders and 25 percent of eighth graders who scored in this category in 1998.  

In addition, fourth grade students eligible for free and reduced lunch showed a significant increase in their scores from 1998 and eighth grade eligible students scored significantly higher in reading than eligible students across the nation.  

For more information about NAEP testing, visit: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard  

For additional state information about NAEP testing, contact NAEP Coordinator Dennis Kennedy at (304) 558-1584 or West Virginia Reading Coordinator Beverly Kingery at (304) 558-7805.

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