The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) received the 2023 West Virginia student assessment results earlier this month during its monthly meeting in Charleston. Results showed slight improvement in the overall percent proficient in math, English language arts (ELA) and science compared to 2022.
The percent proficient in 2023 compared to 2022 also improved or stayed the same in all grades except Grade 7 ELA where there was a 2% decrease.
Overall, results show 44% of West Virginia students were proficient in English language arts (ELA), a 2% increase over last year. In math, 35% were proficient with a 2% increase over 2022. The overall percent proficient in science increased by 1% from 28% in 2022 to 29% in 2023.
The overall 2023 results include combined student performance across grade levels and across all the state’s summative assessments, including the West Virginia General Summative Assessment (WVGSA) in grade 3-8, the SAT School Day in grade 11 and the West Virginia Alternate Summative Assessment (WVASA) in grade 3-8 and 11. The WVASA is administered to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
The accountability assessment results are based on the performance of students who are enrolled in a public school for a full academic year, meaning they were enrolled for at least 135 days during the school year and were present in the end-of-year enrollment file.
An examination of grade-level results by content also showed improvement or remained the same with one exception. The percent proficient in ELA increased in grades 3, 5, 6, and 8 with the greatest increase at 4% occurring in grades 3 and 8. Performance in grade 4 remained the same in 2023 compared to 2022 at 44% proficient, and the grade 11 percent proficient also remained the same at 50%.
Grade 7 ELA was the only grade level that saw a drop. The percent proficient in grade 7 dropped from 41% in 2022 to 39% in 2023.
In math, all grades saw improvement except for grade 11 where the percent proficient remained the same as 2022 at 21%. Grade 3 math saw the greatest improvement of 6-percentage points from 46% proficient in 2022 to 52% proficient in 2023. This also represented a 1% increase over pre-pandemic performance in 2019. Grade 4 saw a 4% increase with grades 5 and 6 each seeing a 3% increase over 2022. Grades 7 and 8 each had a 1% increase.
In science, the percent proficient was 31% in grade 5 and 28% in grade 11 in 2023, reflecting a 1% increase over 2022 for each grade. The percent proficient in grade 8 remained the same at 27%.
“While we are seeing some positive news from our assessment results, we can and must do better,” WVBE President L. Paul Hardesty said. “We will continue to emphasize the importance of improving student achievement and provide our counties and schools with the resources, training, and support they need to improve student learning and overall student development. Our focus will remain on the essential building blocks of literacy and numeracy to ensure the fundamentals are the core component of our teaching and learning. We are gaining some ground, but there is much more to do, and we will get it done. ”
In 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) approved waivers from statewide assessments because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic but did not issue blanket assessment waivers for 2021. However, USED did approve a waiver from using 2021 assessment results for school accountability, meaning that schools were not penalized if less than 95% of their students took the tests in spring 2021. Such a waiver was not granted in 2022 or 2023, so schools that did not meet the 95% participation were penalized. West Virginia’s overall participation in 2023 exceeded the 95% threshold.
The WVDE has initiated several programs to support student learning. The Ready, Read, Write, West Virginia literacy campaign focuses on the Science of Reading in early grades. The department also launched UNITe with Numeracy, an initiative designed to target improvement in mathematics.
“We are starting to see the overall improvement of our assessments in West Virginia. The hard work remains ahead of us, but we know that our collective efforts to support effective teaching strategies, innovation and increased resources will be useful in increasing proficiency among all students,” said State Superintendent Michele L. Blatt. “We know we are not where we want to be, but we are encouraged by the enthusiasm among our county and school administrators, as well as our educators, school staff, families and partners who continue the hard and rewarding work to ensure students are well-prepared academically and developmentally.”
For complete assessment results, including county- and school-level results, please visit https://zoomwv.k12.wv.us/Dashboard/dashboard/7301.
The Board also placed Policy 2512 on review. It is being amended to reflect recent changes outlined in House Bill 3035. These changes include a renewed focus on early literacy and numeracy, utilizing the Science of Reading, the hiring of kindergarten through third-grade early childhood classroom assistant teachers (ECCATs) or other support personnel, the use of screeners for literacy, numeracy, and dyslexia, and student retention guidelines.
The policy will be placed on public comment for 30 days and may be reviewed on the WVDE website.