West Virginia students, after feeding their brains all year with new knowledge, will be put to the test starting Monday morning.

That’s when the WESTEST2, a yearly educational standards exam for third- though 11th-graders, will be administered and State Superintendent Dr. Jim Phares said it’s critical students take it seriously.

“We use that as our accountability measure of schools, and the essence of what the kids reveal in those assessments give us an indication of the quality of our schools,” Phares said.

The test scores also rank West Virginia alongside the other 49 states. Phares admitted West Virginia has not done well on the national assessment the past few years, and in some categories, the state has ranked at or near the bottom.

As the state moves to a new assessment exam in the coming years, things are only going to get more rigorous. Phares said students must excel in the classroom all year long and the test helps educators adjust their lesson plans accordingly.

“This gives us a gauge as to how well we are preparing students to either be college-ready or career-ready,” the superintendent said.

Many parents and educators have contended too much emphasis is placed on the WESTEST2, and even Phares said it isn’t the only thing administrators look at when it comes to success in the classroom.

“The WESTEST2 is one aspect of the assessment but the true quality of the school comes from the collective experiences that all the children have, whether it be in the classroom, whether it be in the music room or the art room or on the stage or on the athletic field. All of those are considered as we look at the quality of those schools.”

Educators won’t know how their students fared on the WESTEST2 until the results are returned near the start of next school year.

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  • JimJim

    All of you are correct. The Westtest is of little value. I try to do a search to find out who writes the Westtest. I think it is Pearson, a London based company or one of it's US subsidiaries. The only thing I'm sure of it's not "God". Therefore, I can only assume that it's about men and money.

  • Joe

    My wife is a WV teacher and has a masters degree. She brings work home to work on at night and even works weekends. What other professions do that?!

    The only good thing to happen over the last 5 years is teachers were able to successfully roll back from the 401k plan structure to the pension plan because most teachers were not able to accrue an equivalent balance of other state pension earners, and were able to have the state transfer approx 20 million dollars in funds into the pension plan as a result of the losses during the great recession.

  • Big Jim

    What is crazy is that the cut off scores change year to year, you could have everybody score a 90% or higher and by the way the State Dept of Ed. has it setup,a certain percentage of the schools have to fail. They want a certain number to fail each year to justify their jobs.

    I have a few family members who are teachers and they say that a lot of honor students who take AP classes ( usually the most rigorous at a school) do poorly on the WESTEST on purpose. They know it does not mean a thing to them, these same students do well on the ACT/SAT, because it counts for scholarships, finical aid, and being able to skip out of certain remedial classes. They also say that some students don't read the questions and are finished in less than 5 minutes.

    Until it means something to the students, it does not matter how much they have been taught.

    • Joe

      So who do all think is responsible for even the most talented students not taking the WESTTEST seriously?

      Student, parent, teacher, all? This would be one area where I thing the teacher can use their skillset to inspire the student to at least give their fullest effort.

      • Big Jim


        Students are no different than the rest of the US, they want the easy way out.

        Why go to work, I can get food stamps, welfare, help with my fuel bills, and a free cell phone. In some instances I even get a car.
        This is what most of our students in WV are showed at home everyday.

        Try on a test, why? Means nothing to me and I get no reward out of it. Ain't nobody got time for that!

        I guess we could pay them, provide them with some government cheese and they may try then.

        Hell, offer them a van down by the river to eat their government cheese in.

    • GSCsBB1

      YAY....Someone who knows what they are talking about.

  • leon

    4 days of disrupted schedule at an extremely important part of the academic year in state where the majority of counties DO NOT get 180 days of instruction. For what ? A test that is meaningless to REAL education. As soon as a state or school meets AYP, they raise the standards so they cannot. Another tool to use to get rid of administrators and teachers by individuals who are not or have never been in a classroom. How about we ask industry to come into their workplace and disrupt them at the busiest time of their year and give them a 4 day meaningless time consuming task and tell them the results will be used to determine their continued employment, BUT they still have to produce everything this time disrupted them from. bada bing !

  • Luke

    I am not familiar with the Westest, but I am surprised at how quickly everyone questions its validity. The benefit of any standardized test is to be able to compare the results of individuals and groups against the results achieved by other like individuals and groups.

    The reasons for any disparity may vary and the conclusions that be dawn may be limited, I'm sure the answers lie somewhere between the teacher is incompetent and the student is stupid. But when WV consistently ends up at the bottom, something is amiss.

    • GSCsBB1

      You do realize that students don't even have to try on this test don't you? They are freely given as much time as they need to ABCD ABCD ACBD and not a thing will happen to them if they decide to take that route. There's not one incentive or consequence given by the state to do well on the students behalf. Plenty of consequences for teachers, admin, and schools though.

  • Keefe

    Let us face the truth this test is set up for failure. If the education system showed success would there be any need to ask for more dollars?

  • imgrill

    These test prove more harmful than good. It put all of the schools efforts into testing and making a grade(for the school) and away from doing what is best for students. Many students dont even try on these test,they see it as a joke. They have been told how important they are over and over but never have consequences for doing poorly. If we are to judge schools by these test shouldnt we equally judge parents by this test...just saying...

  • concerned educator

    Dr. Phares can say whatever he wants, but the department of education, as well as the feds ONLY consider the WESTEST and NAEP as the indicators of school success. Why is there such a push to base teacher pay and principal's jobs on the WESTEST if it doesn't mean anything?

  • John weaver

    Joe, you are correct. An effective teacher is one who inspires and pushes one to learn more one thought possible. plus, these tests have lowered standards across the USA and have replaced learning and thinking with test skills and test taking, this is no longer education but indoctrination in the inane.

  • Joe

    The WESTTEST should never be used to gauge effective teacher performance.

  • Black&White

    Correct me if I'm wrong but with all the middle school athletic events and sectional tournaments finishing this coming week would mean WESTEST is next week (May 13-17....check the dates.

    • Allan Taylor

      The testing window spans May 6-24 with the following notes from state DoE website:
      — Each county will determine the first and last day of the testing window to include no more than 10 consecutive instructional days.
      — County test coordinators must notify the Office of Assessment and Accountability of their selected dates.
      — WVSSAC is making an effort to not schedule sporting events during May 14 - 17.

    • Sonja F

      There is a two week statewide window for testing beginning May 6th. You are correct about the athletic events scheduled for this week as well. Academics are always upstaged by athletics. Of course counties can choose to test the second week of the window, BUT that doesn't leave anytime for makeup tests, and schools are judged student participation in testing.