Nation’s Report Card Grades West Virginia Writers

July 10, 2003

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia fourth and eighth graders’ writing skills were put to the test with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment. NAEP also known as "the Nation's Report Card," periodically conducts assessments in reading, mathematics, science, and writing.  

The information released today revealed that West Virginia eighth graders’ average scale score in writing remained unchanged from 1998, with a score of 144. The West Virginia average score for fourth graders was 147. The writing assessment was not given to fourth graders in 1998.  

NAEP measures several aspects of writing including narrative, informative and persuasive styles, as well as grammar, punctuation and capitalization.  

“West Virginia schools are working very hard to improve our students’ writing skills,” said David Stewart, State Superintendent of Schools. “Our NAEP numbers are very close to the national average and we won’t stop plugging away until our students climb to the top of the testing scale.”  

During the 2002-2003 school year, the WVDE implemented several writing initiatives including “Writing Across the Curriculum” which requires students to write in every class. In addition, the Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA) is required to monitor the assessment of writing performance. OEPA also monitors writing performance as a part of the exemplary school accreditation.  

“We understand results from our writing initiatives won’t be seen overnight,” said Stewart. “However, we are confident with the dedication of our teachers, West Virginia students can become high-performing writers.”  

For more information regarding NAEP testing, please contact Dennis Kennedy or Brenda West, with the Office of Student Assessment, at (304) 558-2651, or visit NAEP’s website at:

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