CHARLESTON, W.Va.¬†—¬†State School Superintendent Doctor Steve Paine made a promise to members of the House of Delegates Education Committee Monday concerning future test scores of public school students.

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Steve Paine

“We are working hard to do the right things to lay a foundation from which we build a quality education system and I’m anxious and I will guarantee that those results will go up in a couple of years, those NAEP results. I just feel that they will because we are doing all the right things,” Paine said.

The state’s NAEP, National Assessment of Educational Progress, scores released in early November showed West Virginia as one of three states to have a significant drop in fourth-grade math scores. Math and reading scores for eighth graders also were down.

Paine said there’s been too much change in West Virginia’s content and standards. He told lawmakers improvement will come when there’s consistency. He urged the committee members not to make any major changes in public education for a few years.

“We need now after a couple years of instability, quite frankly, stability. It is critical for our system right now,” Paine said.

State lawmakers approved significant education reform last year. The 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions were dominated by the controversial Common Core standards. Paine told committee members the standards now in place should be left alone for several years if student achievement is going to improve.

“It takes three or four years for state law, state policy, board policy, whatever, to have impact. That comes directly from research,” Paine said. “The 2019 test results are a direct reflection of what was going on here in (2015) and (2016). I’m looking forward to rebuilding that floor and that foundation.”

Paine said improving student achievement is more about leadership and quality teaching than it is about tweaking standards.

“More than ever we need stability in the system right now and I would appreciate you working with us to do that,” Paine said.

Paine’s comments came at the end of Monday’s meeting after the education committee heard details of the state Department of Education’s budget proposal for next fiscal year.