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Wetzel County Schools Get Report Cards

By Staff | Nov 23, 2016

It’s report card time for the public school systems across the state.

The West Virginia Board of Education recently released school grades based on an A-F grading scale and made the new letter grades for schools public Wednesday. Those grades are based on each school’s data from 2015, and indicate the school’s level of success in ultimately getting students career- or college-ready, department officials said Tuesday.

Data used is 83 percent student performance, including scores from the West Virginia General Summative Assessment, the periodic test that replaced the old Westest. The remaining 17 percent of the score is based on non-performance metrics, including attendance at all school levels and graduation rates at the high-school level.

Specifically, according to a statement from Wetzel County Schools, these scores were based upon 1) school performance on state standardized testing in English Language Arts and Mathematics, 2) student improvement on state testing and students on track to reach grade level expectations, 3) persistence in school attendance and graduating on time and lowering the dropout rate, and 4) post-secondary readiness as indicated by scoring well on AP exams and college-credit bearing courses, and completing a full course of study in a Career Technical Education concentration.

For the first year, the West Virginia Department of Education applied the bell curve to all school scores, meaning four percent of the schools in West Virginia received A’s and four percent received F’s. 19 percent received B’s and 19 percent received D’s. 54 percent received a grade of C.

Wetzel County Schools garnered four B’s, three C’s, and one D.

Wetzel County Schools receiving a grade of B include: New Martinsville School, Magnolia High School, Paden City High School, and Valley High School. Wetzel County Schools receiving a grade of C include: Long Drain School, Paden City Elementary School, and Short Line School. Hundred High School received a grade of D.

Michele Blatt, chief accountability officer for the West Virginia Department of Education, said grades of A, B and C are within the “acceptable range” of grades, while D’s and F’s are “unacceptable.” Schools receiving unacceptable grades must create a plan to improve by next year, and if there’s no improvement, then the state can help with resources through the Regional Educational Service Areas.

Known as the West Virginia School Accountability System, specific A-F grades represent students’ performance as follows: A – distinctive; B – commendable; C – acceptable; D – unacceptable, and F – lowest, according to documents showing how to interpret the report card.

The state Department of Education designed the accountability system to meet a requirement of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 15.

It mandates every state to create such a system, yet it gives states some control over how to assess its own schools’ success in getting students career- and college-ready. The act replaces the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, according to the U.S. Department of Education website.

According to grades released Wednesday, among Brooke County’s 10 schools, Hancock County’s seven schools, Tyler County’s four schools and Wetzel County’s eight schools, each school system had one school earn a D grade. Marshall County’s 12 schools brought in two D grades.

No schools within the local counties earned an F grade. Some schools throughout the state that did receive F’s did so because they didn’t have the required 95 percent of students perform the actual test portion, said Michele Blatt, chief accountability officer for the West Virginia Department of Education, who spoke with media Tuesday during a conference call.

According to Wetzel County Schools, the goals and action steps of its strategic plan were devised to address the areas that individual schools and the county office determined as challenges based upon the four areas of the A-F grading scale. Goal 1: Instructional leadership for higher educator effectiveness

Goal 2: Student engagement to increase student achievement and increase graduation rate

Goal 3: A culture of high expectations and shared mission to meet or exceed the measurable objectives set forth by the state

Wetzel County Schools Superintendent, Ed Toman, is excited with the work being done in the schools to address the goals of the school and county strategic plans and increase school grades this year. He is particularly encouraged with the attention being placed on mathematics instruction since scores, county and statewide, were low in this area. He cites the teachers’ participation in research-based instructional practices in mathematics through the Southern Regional Education Board’s Mathematics Design Collaborative and a focus on alignment, pacing guides, and curriculum mapping in grades PK-12 as positive steps in the right direction. Teachers will continue to work with the SREB Literacy Design Collaborative, as well, to continue growth in English Language Arts and literacy in all subject areas. The county will be soon be involved in a comprehensive STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) curriculum called JASON Learning. Mr. Toman encourages those with questions to contact curriculum directors, Teresa Standiford and Tammy Wells with any questions.

Lauren Matthews contributed to this report.