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G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

Initial scores for the West Virginia General Summative Assessment show Wood County Schools exceeding state averages in both reading and math at every grade level.

Superintendent Will Hosaflook presented a brief overview of the scores during Tuesday’s Wood County Board of Education meeting. Hosaflook said while he was given the green light on releasing the overall scores Tuesday, the state will not release a full report, including accountability scores, until noon Thursday.

“The state superintendent has embargoed those results until the state school board meets” Thursday morning, he said.

Hosaflook said the scores show Wood County Schools above state proficiency averages, but added he believed much more work needed to be done.

“There is success at every one of our schools, and it’s important to be celebrating that success,” he said. But, “I’m not satisfied, because there is always room for improvement.”

In third-grade math, 48 percent of West Virginia students were proficient, while 51 percent of Wood County Schools students were proficient. For fourth-grade, the state scored 45 percent and Wood County scored 51 percent. In fifth-grade, the state scored 40 percent and Wood County was 52 percent.

The numbers for elementary school reading were similar. In third-grade, the state scored 47 percent, while Wood County scored 52 percent. In fourth-grade, the state scored 45 percent and Wood County was 47 percent. In fifth-grade, the state scored 44 percent and Wood County was 53 percent.

Middle school proficiency rates were lower for both the state and the county. In math, sixth-graders scored 34 percent at the state level and 36 percent locally. In seventh-grade, the state scored 35 percent and Wood County scored 38 percent. In eighth-grade, the state scored 32 percent and Wood County scored 36 percent.

In sixth-grade reading, the state scored 43 percent and Wood County scored 46 percent. In seventh-grade, the state scored 44 percent and Wood County scored 46 percent. In eighth-grade, the state scored 41 percent and Wood County scored 47 percent.

“We were above the state in every category,” Hosaflook said. “Still, being above the state average is not good enough for me, nor is it good enough for the students, teachers and everyone in this room. We will improve.”

This marked the first year where the national SAT exam was used by West Virginia as a statewide exam for 11th-grade students.

Hosaflook said the county’s three high schools all scored around the state math average of 465 and exceeded the state average of 460 in reading with scores ranging from 485-493. Overall, the state SAT average was 942, and Hosaflook said the high schools were right around that average, with Parkersburg High School being the highest in the county with an overall score of 958.

Hosaflook cautioned the county’s accountability scores, which will not be made public until Thursday, would not be as good, as the test scores were only part of the formula used to determine those numbers. Hosaflook said the main area of concern is attendance, and only one school in the district met those requirements.

Hosaflook said federal changes to the state’s accountability system count almost all days missed by students, even those due to illness or death in the family, as absences, which count against the school’s overall attendance score, even if they are considered excused absences by the school system.

Hosaflook said attendance is an area of concern for Wood County Schools, with about 14 percent of the district’s students considered “chronically absent,” and will be a major part of what he will focus on in the coming months. Board members agreed.

“If kids aren’t in school, they’re not learning,” said board member Justin Raber. “I really feel we need to focus on attendance whole-heartedly. I think it really places accountability on parents and guardians to make sure their children are in school.”

What is the plausible rationale for Gilmer not disclosing detailed facts similar to what Superintendent Hosaflook did?

Wood County reported 11,176 students in its 27 schools for the full FY 2018 school year.

In comparison Gilmer had 734 reported students in our two schools for the full FY 2018 school year.

Wood County had 15 times more students than Gilmer and it is reasonable to assume that it was 15 times more demanding to administer with its 27 schools.

If Wood County could get detailed facts out to the public with its significantly higher work load what keeps tiny Gilmer from doing the same?

Comment by Why Gilmer BOE?  on  09.18.2018

West Virginia’s educational failures is NOT because of classroom teachers.

It IS because of the WV Board of Education’s failures of the past 20-30 years.

That 9 member, lopsided governor board is a crime against children and education in WV as a whole.

It needs 3 teachers, 3 general public parent members, and 3 governor appointees.

Until that governors click gang is broken up, you simply see repeats of the past.  NO progress in education.

It will take the legislature to fix it, but they are too busy with the legislature created court system failure, while trying to line pockets with gas and oil money.

Comment by Tell It Like It Is !  on  09.19.2018

The problem with preK-12 education in WV is that a holistic and and technically defensible evaluation of contributing factors to cause WV’s problems and how to deal with them has not occurred.

Instead, under direction of clueless politicians ineffective muddling prevails while selling what is done at a particular time as the definitive solution.

How many times have we witnessed muddling over the past 20-30 Years? It still goes on in Charleston.

Why not obtain a grant to have qualified experts analyze success stories around the Nation and use findings to craft a demonstration project in Gilmer County to improve our school system?

Regardless of what we do there must be open minds in seeking out what to do in homes, schools,  teacher education programs in our institutions of higher learning, continuing education for classroom teachers, and to involve various factions in our community to achieve acceptable results. Everyone must band together as a unified team to make it work.

One trap is over emphasis of sports. If the same magnitude of attention and importance were to be focused on solving preK-12 education problems in WV, great strides could be made to benefit deserving children.

Comment by Muddling  on  09.19.2018

Similar to most complex problems there are several categories contributing to WV’s dismal failure in improving education results in our grade and high schools.

Information in referred journal is beginning to show up. Some of the categories include curriculum issues in high schools, block scheduling failures in high schools, inordinate emphasis on sports at the expense of academics, inadequate prep of grade schoolers to ensure that they get firm foundations in math and English Language Arts, failure to instill need for life long learning at early ages, failure for school systems to fund continuing education of teachers to prepare them for newly emerged practices for enhanced student learning, cultural impediments including failure of some families to encourage children and to give them extra learning help at home, dysfunctional families for children to grow up in caused by drug and alcohol abuse and chronic unemployment, grade inflation characterized by too many As and Bs and attitudes that nobody fails so pass them along, failure of school boards to hire the best qualified superintendents and teachers because of local emphasis on favoring “home grow” individuals, failure of school boards to define performance expectations for superintendents to make effective accountability impossible, constantly changing types of State mandated testing to cause chaos and morale problems, poor compensation of teachers necessary to attract and keep the best and the brightest, etc.

To blame all problems on teachers is a cruel travesty.

One of the weakest links contributing to a lack of progress in improving WV schools is that instead of analyzing the full spectrum of contributing problems and focusing on ones with the biggest payoff potential, the trend in Charleston is to constantly apply band aid approaches with hopes that “cures” will be stumbled on accidentally.

Comment by Do Not Blame It All On Our Teachers  on  09.21.2018

To compound complexity of the issue, Gilmer is different from McDowell and both are different than Monongahela.

The implication is that getting out of the crisis must be county-specific and there is no one size that will fit all of WV’s 55 school systems.

Each county is on its own and ones with the best planning, local boards of education, and administrators will shine. Forget about Charleston!

Comment by County-Specific  on  09.21.2018

Why not go for it on our own and use the tried and widely accepted Iowa Test of Basic Skills to evaluate learning proficiency of our children?

It is the longest running test in America and it goes back to 1936.

One outcome of using the test is that each grade would be evaluated and compared to performances to schools in other parts of America.

We would probably have to go through hoop jumps of the State’s everchanging testing too.

Comment by Iowa Test For Gilmer  on  09.21.2018

I have not read anyone blaming our teachers.  Quite the contrary.
There have been some well thought out comments submitted too.
I am old enough to remember when we had few issues about quality education.

Forget Charleston? Better not.
Believe we are still in their “probation” period.
You better check out just what that means.

Comment by GC--still on state probation?  on  09.22.2018
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