August 11, 2021
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) reviewed data from the 2021 state summative assessments during its August meeting today in Charleston. The State Department of Education (WVDE) will use these results to focus efforts and resources on addressing learning gaps and improving individual student achievement throughout the state.
Overall results showed 40% of West Virginia students were proficient in English language arts (ELA), while 28% were proficient in mathematics and 27% were proficient in science. Additionally, results reflect a decrease in percent proficient from 2019 results, but State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch cautioned against making a direct comparison to previous years.
“Without a doubt, we know that such factors as participation rates, learning modes and learning disruptions over the past 18 months varied by school and likely affected student performance,” Superintendent Burch said. “Our goal now is to use the results to focus on COVID-19 recovery efforts and address individual student needs.”
The overall 2021 results include combined student performance across all the state’s summative assessments, including the West Virginia General Summative Assessment (WVGSA) in grades 3-8, the SAT School Day in grade 11 and the West Virginia Alternate Summative Assessment (WVASA) in grades 3-8 and 11. The WVASA is administered to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Results are based on the performance of students who are considered full academic year, meaning they were enrolled for at least 135 days during the school year.
Although the state did not administer statewide summative assessments in 2020, West Virginia successfully administered tests to a high percentage of students this past spring, thus providing data districts and schools can use to identify and address achievement gaps for individual students. Overall, more than 91% of public school students enrolled in the tested grades took the summative assessments this year.
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) approved waivers from statewide assessments in 2020 because of the outbreak of the pandemic but did not issue blanket assessment waivers this past spring. The USED, however, 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.
Districts and schools encouraged all students to take the tests. Many districts and schools offered flexible testing schedules to test as many students as possible and ensure student safety. The state also opened the testing window for the WVGSA and WVASA a week earlier and extended the window a week later than originally scheduled. Additionally, working with the College Board, the WVDE was able to add an extra makeup testing date for the SAT School Day.
“Our districts and our schools did a great job in providing opportunities for all students to test so that we could obtain critical information about student strengths, weaknesses and learning gaps,” WVBE President Miller Hall said. “The information gained from these results is crucial for us moving forward to best support student learning and overall development.”
From the outset of the pandemic, the WVDE has taken many steps to assist districts and schools in helping students recover from any achievement gaps associated with the last 18 months of learning. This includes passing through its $34 million in the round-two pandemic relief funding allocation to counties allowing them to build summer and extended learning opportunities for students. These important enrichment experiences were designed to accelerate academic progress and address social-emotional and developmental losses.
As schools open for the 2021-22 school year, educators and school personnel are preparing for a return to school like none other. Some students have not been in a brick-and-mortar school for 18 months. Additionally, among the youngest learners are those that attended school virtually last year and will now transition to their first experience with in-person learning. Layered within these challenges are the existing socio-economic indicators that have been further exacerbated by the pandemic.
Students with increased exposure to trauma, foster care/group home placements, homelessness/living in shelters, incarcerated parents/guardians and poverty will be in classrooms across the state, and counties have been developing plans to address the extended needs they present.
“The journey through recovery will address the needs of the whole child – academics, well-being and developmental growth,” said Superintendent Burch. “Districts are encouraged to look at the 2021 assessment results with an emphasis on individual student performance and use the information to construct the larger story of what is needed for meaningful recovery and growth. We must do everything we can to close the achievement gaps and mitigate pandemic loss. We owe it to our students to use every piece of information we have to help them succeed.”
For complete assessment results, please visit https://zoomwv.k12.wv.us/Dashboard/dashboard/7301/ or view the summary document here.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or by emailing Christy.firstname.lastname@example.org.