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Students taking Westest have fewer days to prepare

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By Jennifer Smith
WV MetroNews

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- Wood County students have missed a dozen school days this semester and February isn’t even over. Between frigid temperatures and snow, it’s been tough to get kids in class.

It’s posed a problem preparing for the annual West Virginia Educational Standards Test or Westest. The West Virginia Department of Education stresses educators don’t teach to the test. However, students do have to be prepared for the exam.

Wood County Superintendent Patrick Law said the test is now upon them.

“We’ve continued to miss days right up to the start of the writing assessment, which is part of the overall score for the Westest,” Law said. “So there’s even less time to help prepare those students for that portion of the test.”

Some Wood County students have already started their writing assessment, others will begin in the coming days. The field test portion of the exam begins mid-March.

Law said the advice he’s given teachers to help them prepare their students is simple.

“Make use of your time as best you can. You don’t waste any time. Use every minute available.”

Law explained that while the Westest should be used as a way to help individual students identify where they need to improve, it’s become a test that now measures the school as a whole.

He said he’s hoping for a less wintery school schedule in order to get in as many instructional days as possible.

“Keep our fingers crossed, knock on wood and rub our lucky rabbit feet,” laughed Law.