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.