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Final Smarter Balanced test results released

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Final Smarter Balanced test results released
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia students are more proficient in English language arts than math, according to results from last spring’s Smarter Balanced Assessment released Wednesday during the state Board of Education meeting.

Math scores improved in grades 4-8 and 11 but students are still testing at about 33 percent proficiency, according to Dr. Lou Maynus, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.

“For our students in mathematics it is hovering at about one-third, about a third of our children are shown proficient by the results of the Smart Balanced Assessment,” Maynus told school board members.

When looking at the results during a three-year period the math scores have gained in every grade level, Maynus said.

Proficiency in English language arts (ELA) is around 50 percent but most grades didn’t show the gains that math did. Proficiency was 45 percent in grades 3, 6 and 8 to a high of 50 percent in grade 11.

Science proficiency levels were around 39 percent, the numbers showed.

Last spring was the final testing period for Smarter Balanced after the state lawmakers passed a bill to get rid of it. The state School Board is expected to choose a new form of testing later this year.

“We’re in the mist of an RFP (Request for Proposals) right now for grades 3-8 assessment and a grade 11 assessment,” state School Superintendent Doctor Steve Paine told board of education members.

Board member James Wilson said given the controversy about the testing he’s pleased there were some improvements.

“Since everyone knew this was the last year they didn’t’ go in the tank with it,” Wilson said. “People were serious about it.”

Vaughn Rudy, executive director of the Office of Assessment, said West Virginia is not unlike other states where older students continue to have problems with math.

“As students progress through the grade levels the math gets harder for one thing, more challenging questions on the assessment, and we do see it go down,” Rudy said.

Maynus told board members reading and writing continues to be the key to improving test results.

“If a child can learn to read and write and to comprehend they can do mathematics,” she said.