Most W.Va. students miss mark on new Common-Core aligned test

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Of West Virginia students in elementary, middle and high schools, only fifth graders tested proficient in either math or English/language arts on the state’s new Common Core-aligned standardized test last school year, according to preliminary results released Wednesday.

Those students barely managed an overall proficiency rate in English/language arts, with 51 percent testing proficient. Only 30 percent of them were deemed proficient in math.

About 175,000 Mountain State students took the Smarter Balanced test in the spring of the 2014-15 school year.

Proficiency rates — defined as scoring a 3 or 4 on the 1-4 scale — were below 50 percent in both subjects in all other grade levels. The math results were worse than English in this state, where leaders have stressed the need for better science, technology, engineering and math education as the coal industry continues its downturn.

West Virginia’s preliminary proficiency rates were also the lowest in both subjects and in every grade tested in the four other states using Smarter Balanced exams that Luci Willits, deputy executive director of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, said had released numbers as of Tuesday. All but one of these states’ results are also not final, and one, Oregon, said it expects that the remaining 5 percent of tests it has yet to grade will drop its rates. The other states are Idaho, Missouri and Washington.

Despite poor scores overall, West Virginia students beat in all grades the English/language arts proficiency rates — and in third grade the math proficiency rate — projected by a 2013-14 field test of about 4 million students in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium…

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