CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State School Superintendent Dr. Jim Phares told state lawmakers Monday he believes the state’s standardized achievement test will be given very close to the last day of school for students within three years. 

Phares said having the Westest totally online, like it was this past school year, will allow state education officials to move the test back toward the end of the year.

“The later in the school year the more advantageous, the more immediate response the students and teachers get,” Phares said. “We want the students to know the day they walk out after they take their last sub-test whether or not they are proficient.”

This year schools were allowed to give the Westest in a 12-week window, Phares also anticipates that being sliced to a five-week period to get the testing done.

The superintendent said in many ways having the Westest online this year was in many ways a test of its own and he said, although not perfect, it passed with flying colors.

“We wanted to find out about broadband, we want to find out if we had the software and hardware capabilities to do what we’ve been doing and I’m pleased to say we do,” Superintendent Phares said.

Several lawmakers urged state education officials to move the testing times as close to the end of the school year as possible to help eliminate behavioral problems that can surface after the testing is over and there are sometimes a month or more of school left.

Phares said the Westest results would be back sometime in the August-September time frame.

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  • Gary Karstens

    Here is an idea: how about ask the AFT and WVEA to ask their members when they feel it is most beneficial to test the children?!?!?! This is why we need a thinker and listener as state super! You need someone with excellent teaching experience and a philosophy like Jane Claymore.

    • jm

      How bout lets not ask the AFT and the WVEA. If it were up to them there would be no testing. That way we would never know that they are not doing their jobs.

      • Rick g

        We test students in school too much. As the building level coordinator of testing at a local high school here is a list of the tests that students took this year.

        Benchmarks grades 9,10,11 3x a year
        PLAN grade 10
        Compass grade 11
        West Test subjects tests grade 9,10,11
        West Test Online Writing grade 9,10,11

        optional ones
        Compass Math/English due to course requirement
        AP exams if taking AP courses
        High Schools that work
        Work keys

        Field Tests:
        My school ran 4 "network stress tests" to see if the network and computers would work for west test, each took 1 1/2 hours

        Smarter Balance (which will soon replace the west test) field test taken over 4 days of class

        I'm sure the teachers were able to teach them something in between there though

  • Dad2collegekids

    Let's use tests other than WESTEST to really gauge our kids development in school.

  • jm

    As for having it closer to the end of the year to reduce behavior problems, what a joke.

    If anything, the west test should be given in the last week of school so the teachers would continue to teach. I say that in regards to the fact that most schools and classes do not do much after the tests anyway. They start field trips, movie days, etc.......the fact they are still in school is just an attempt to get in their days. They really don't do any learning.

    Stop so many field trips, movies, and picnics and get back to learning.

    But, if this is going to happen, there are schools out there that the state needs to supply with a sufficient number of computers to make it practical. Currently there are schools that took the whole allotted time so that all students were able to get access.

  • caccamo

    WESTEST are a joke-teaching a kid to take a test is not teaching a kid- but politicians know best thats why our state is in such great shape.

  • Steve

    You are never going to find a date that is perfect. If you have to make up inclement days you may be still in school in mid June. So squeezing in state testing along with school finals to coincide with the end of the school year is practically a crapshoot.

  • Beria

    This year there was still too much time between end of WESTEST and end of school. Only issue is for students who have to complete make-ups and preparation for semester exams. Semester exams are part of the final grade so would not want to " over test" and jeopardize both scores if both are given last week of school.