CHARLESTON, W.Va. – No Child Left Behind is history. The West Virginia Department of Education is now using a new assessment system to determine how students are progressing in class. The WESTEST 2 scores were released Wednesday.
State Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares said under No Child Left Behind you either met Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) or you didn’t. Under the new system, every public school in the state will be designated under one of five categories: success, transition, focus, support or priority.
“Under this accountability system, schools, school systems and the state will be held accountable based on the growth of every student no matter if it’s in the whole group student population or if it’s in any of the subgroups like students with disabilities or minority students,” Phares said.
Anyone can go to the state’s new website to find out how a particular school is doing when it comes to math and reading proficiency, attendance, how many students meet grade level expectations and how close students are to reaching those expectations. You can link to that website at www.wvde.state.wv.us and click on My School’s Performance.
“This way each school has its own starting point and has its own finishing point and a trajectory of student growth in order to get there by 2020,” according to Phares.
Click on Jayenne Elementary School in Marion County, for example, and you’ll see they are rated as a “success” school. It received a 74.89 total index score out of 100. Compare that to Southside K-8 in McDowell County which is rated as a “priority” school with a total index score of just 21.49.
Phares said improvements will not happen overnight but the index will be especially helpful for teachers.
“They’ll be able to see these reports and see if their students are growing in the areas where they are strong, in the areas where they are weak,” explained Phares. “They can actually hold a level of accountability.”
Phares said that translates into teachers learning where they need to improve and making changes so their students succeed.
According to the latest figures only 49 percent of West Virginia public school students are proficient in reading and the number is even lower for math where only 46 percent of students meet standards.
Phares believes under the new system you’ll see drastically improved numbers by the end of the decade.