Making the grade


August 31, 2012

CHARLESTON — According to a recent release from West Virginia Department of Education, West Virginia Educational Standards Test (WESTEST2) scores show that an increasing number of students in Mason County reached or exceeded proficiency in the 2011-12 school year.

According to the most recent WESTEST2 data, the number of Mason County students reaching the “at or above” proficiency level has increased in both math and reading across most grade levels. It was reported that all West Virginia students in grades 3-11 are required to take the WESTEST2, an assessment that measures student achievement. Also, under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), proficiency is defined as the number of students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations in each subject.

It was reported that last year, nearly 25 percent of students in Mason County showed improvement in mathematics, a four percent increase from 2010-11 scores. In reading/language arts, 24 percent of Mason County students showed improvement in content proficiency.

Under NCLB, schools also must meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). More than 44 percent of Mason County schools met AYP this past school year, which is a 22 percent increase from the 2010-11 school year.

“What we value in West Virginia is constant improvement and student academic growth,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “Meeting Adequate Yearly Progress under NCLB is a tough task for schools across the nation. Nonetheless, more West Virginia students are making the grade.”

NCLB requires that all students in the United States are proficient by 2014.

“Our goal is that students are ready to be successful whether they go to college or enter the workforce,” Marple said. “Even the schools that were not able to jump over the AYP bar still showed individual student improvement and that should be commended.”

The West Virginia Department of Education will also be launching a new website which will go deeper into student achievement data. The website will feature individual student growth. As opposed to student proficiency, student academic growth is defined as the change in an individual student’s performance from one year to the next, regardless of proficiency level.

The student growth data will allow teachers to personalize learning based on individual student needs.

“Focusing on student growth allows school systems to transition from a system that teaches all students to teaching each student,” Marple added.

The WVDE has developed a parent website to provide resources that can be used at home to help with more rigorous schoolwork. The website can be found at

Additional WESTEST2 data can be found by visiting or by contacting the WVDE Communications Office at (304) 558-2699.