Wetzel County Schools Show Improvements
Wetzel County Schools received some good news at the Monday, April 4 meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education. Superintendent Leatha Williams gave a PowerPoint presentation with an update on the status of the school system. Data revealed that students have improved academic performance between the first Interim Comprehensive Assessment (ICA), taken at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, and the second ICA, taken after 100-135 days of instruction. ICA 1 served as a baseline assessment to determine where students were academically and how much of the state’s standards they had already mastered. ICA 2 was the post assessment, which told the effectiveness of the taught curriculum and how it aligns with required curriculum.
Williams provided data from both the county and individual school level performance. The graphs included four achievement levels, Level 1 to Level 4, Level 1 being the lowest Level.
The graphs showed that students performed substantially higher on ICA 2 than on ICA 1.
For instance, approximately 53 percent of Wetzel County’s third graders performed at the lowest level, Level 1, on ICA 1 in English. On ICA 2, approximately 25 percent of third graders performed at Level 1 in English.
Only 3 percent of third graders performed at the top level, Level 4, in English on ICA 1. On ICA 2, 21 percent of third graders performed at the highest level.
In Math, approximately 70 percent of the county’s third graders performed at Level 1 on ICA 1. This contrasted considerably with ICA 2. Approximately 25 percent of students performed at Level 1 on ICA 2. One percent of third grade students performed at Level 4 on ICA 1 in Math. On ICA 2, 9 percent of the county’s third graders performed at the highest level.
This trend continued throughout the middle grade levels as well. Approximately 48 percent of seventh graders performed at Level 1 in English on ICA 1. On ICA 2, approximately 31 percent of seventh graders performed at Level 1. This compared to 7 percent at Level 4 on ICA 1 and 19 percent at Level 4 on ICA 2.
In Math, 56 percent of seventh graders performed at Level 1. Approximately 43 percent performed at Level 1 on ICA 2. Approximately 3 percent of seventh graders performed at Level 4 on ICA 1, while 8 percent performed at Level 4 on ICA 2.
Wetzel County’s high schools also made impressive improvements. Approximately 20 percent of 11th graders performed at Level 1 on both ICA 1 and ICA 2. However, approximately 23 percent of students performed at the highest level on ICA 1; this improved to approximately 32 percent for ICA 2.
Williams followed up the presentation of data by noting the responsibilities of Wetzel County Schools in accreditation and accountability. She said the school system has to ensure each school is led by a principal knowledgeable of continuous improvement processes and capable of leading effective improvement efforts. Furthermore, Wiliams noted, the school system must build capacity by supporting effective improvement teams. The school system must also assist schools in creating schedules and allocating time for staff to work on school improvement efforts.
On Monday, April 11, Wetzel County Board of Education President Mike Blair released the following statement on the improvement in assessment scores:
“Earlier in the year, I discussed the points that our system needed a change leadership to benefit our students. We have focused on teaching the standards and instructional strategies both to increase student achievement. Throughout the year, many trainings have been provided to supports and assist each school with these changes. Mrs. Williams has personally provided training to our county administrators, school principals, and teachers who then have worked within their buildings to support and train other teachers. School principals should be congratulated for the capacity for change that they have built in their buildings as well as teachers for their dedication and support to higher levels of student learning. Our ICA (Interim Comprehensive Assessment) assessment results are showing student achievement has improved at all grade levels in the county.”