WVBE/WVDE

October 24, 2017 - Volume 37 Issue 11

WVBE / WVDE News

Charleston, W.Va. – Students in grades 3 through 8 will begin taking a new West Virginia General Summative Assessment (WVGSA) in spring 2018, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced today. American Institutes for Research (AIR) was selected as the successful bidder following a competitive review process.

The shift in the West Virginia’s statewide assessment was a result of the state legislation passed last April (HB 2711) which, among other things, required the WVDE to move away from the Smarter Balanced exam and identify a new assessment to be used in grades 3 through 8.

“The new West Virginia General Summative Assessment will be closely aligned to West Virginia’s standards and our educators will be able to provide input on test items,” said Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Lou Maynus. “AIR provides a complete assessment solution, including interim benchmark assessments with item analysis available to teachers to provide ongoing feedback and practice throughout the year.”

AIR was selected as the successful bidder because their proposal more closely met the specifications of the request for proposal (RFP). AIR will initially provide a blueprint of test items from their existing item bank to the WVDE for review, which considers items that most closely align with the West Virginia College- and Career-Readiness Standards. Select West Virginia educators will have the opportunity to review test items and provide input.

After the first year of administration, educators also will be given the opportunity to develop new test items to enhance the assessment.

Additionally, educators will have access to AIR’s AIR Ways reporting platform, which provides valuable information regarding student performance on the interim benchmark and diagnostic assessments, including specific connections to the West Virginia College- and Career-Readiness Standards.

The AIR assessment will be administered in an online format for all students in grades 3 through 8. Braille and large format assessments will be available in paper format. AIR also will administer a science assessment for students in grades 5 and 8. The assessment should take no more than four hours for students not taking the science assessment and no more than five-and-a-half hours for students taking the science assessment. Educators will have access to student reports within 12 business days of test administration.

Editor’s Note: Information provided by W. Va. Department of Education.

Charleston, W.Va. — The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) adopted nine policies during its October meeting in Charleston today. All policies were previously available online for a 30-day public comment period, and comments were considered in the presented policies. A brief description of each policy can be found below.

  • 4110 – Attendance:Attendance directors or their assistants are no longer required to send home a letter to parents or guardians of students who had accumulated three unexcused absences. Legislation also required updates to the definition of the excused absence for personal illness or injury of students’ parents, guardian, custodian or family member. This policy will be effective on November 13, 2017.
  • 4373 – Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools:The new comprehensive policy mirrors current legislation regarding the training of employees on new reporting requirements. The changes impact child welfare and safety as well as reporting requirements and clarify definitions. This policy will be effective on November 13, 2017.
  • 5100 – Approval for Educator Preparation Programs:This policy updates language to align with currently accepted terminology and to mirror language used within current legislation. Additionally, the policy clarifies the requirements of a cooperating teacher who oversees student teachers in the classroom. This policy will be effective on November 13, 2017.
  • 2422.7 – Standards for Basic and Specialized Health Care Procedures:This policy was updated following the enactment of SB36, which provides county boards of education with options for adopting policies for prevention in the unforeseen incident of a drug overdose within the school setting. Additionally, districts may adopt policies to allow bus operators to utilize epinephrine auto-injectors. This policy will be effective on November 13, 2017.
  • 2520.13 – College- and Career-Readiness Programs of Study/Standards for CTE:This policy is updated yearly to ensure the state-approved CTE Program of Study offerings align with workforce needs. This policy will be effective on July 1, 2018.
  • 2520.16 – West Virginia Alternate Academic Achievement Standards:This policy ensures alignment of the state’s alternate academic achievement standards for students receiving a modified or alternate diploma. This policy will be effective on July 1, 2018.
  • 2520.7 – WV College- and Career-Readiness Standards for World Languages:This policy revises and combines Policy 2520.7, 21st Century Foreign Language Content Standards and Objectives for West Virginia Schools and Policy 2520.18, 21st Century American Sign Language Content Standards and Objectives for West Virginia Schools, moving toward proficiency-based learning. The emphasis is now placed on what learners can do with the language rather than just what words they know. This policy will be effective on July 1, 2018.
  • 2520.15 - WV Pre-K Standards:To ensure alignment between the Pre-K and kindergarten grades, the WVBE repealed the last version of the policy (2015) and replaced it with a version of the WV Pre-K Standards that have been formatted to align with the West Virginia College and Career Readiness Standards. This policy will be effective on July 1, 2019.
  • Policy 2525 - West Virginia’s Universal Access to a Quality Early Education System:This policy has been revised to be reflective of West Virginia Code, Section 18-5-44, which was amended by SB186. Additionally, the policy removes language that is no longer applicable due to previous policy changes and addresses guidelines regarding suspension in Pre-K to include provisions to meet collaborative partner requirements and practices to support struggling children. This policy will be effective on July 1, 2018.

To review future policies and comment online, visit: http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

Editor’s Note: Information provided by the W. Va. Department of Education. 

Charleston, W.Va. – All West Virginia high school juniors will begin taking the SAT as the statewide summative assessment in spring 2018, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced today. The College Board was selected as the successful bidder following a competitive review process for the high school assessment.

The shift in the West Virginia’s statewide assessment was a result of the state legislation passed last April (HB 2711) which, among other things, required the WVDE to identify a college entrance exam to be used as the statewide high school assessment.

“The College Board’s SAT test is a widely respected assessment used across the country,” said Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Lou Maynus. “College Board proved through the bid process that its product was the better assessment for West Virginia students by providing valuable resources at a lower cost than the other bidder.”

SAT was selected as the successful bidder because their proposal more closely met the specifications of the request for proposals (RFP). Students will have access to a large number of resources including the well-known Khan Academy®, which is the official practice portal for SAT. Through Khan Academy®, students have access to eight practice tests, thousands of practice questions and personalized recommendations to help students focus on the skills needed to improve their performance. Additionally, SAT provides an easy process for approving accommodations and supports for testing students with disabilities, students on section 504 plans and English learners. West Virginia high schools are already familiar with College Board through their Advanced Placement (AP) program that helps students earn college credits while in high school.

The SAT assessment will be administered in a paper format in year one with an option to move online in year two and beyond The assessment will be the same as a typical Saturday SAT assessment, but given to students during the regular school day. Students can send their scores to up to four colleges or universities at no cost.

The SAT is accepted at all institutions of higher learning throughout West Virginia and the nation. It is also used as a qualifier for the Promise Scholarship. As the state’s eleventh grade general summative assessment used for accountability purposes, the SAT must be administered to all West Virginia juniors, except for those students who have significant cognitive disabilities who take the West Virginia Alternate Assessment. Schools will be responsible for assessing 95 percent of their 11th grade students. However, high school students still have the option to take the ACT as their college entrance exam at their own expense.

“I am thrilled that our students will be able take a globally-recognized college admission test at no cost,” said West Virginia Associate Superintendent of Schools, Clayton Burch. “The SAT will add value and influence the effort index among our high school students because it is tied to concrete outcomes and benefits.”

Editor’s Note: Information provided by the W. Va. Department of Education. 

Charleston, W.Va. — More West Virginia students are taking the ACT college entrance exam than in the past, according to data released Thursday by ACT. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of students in West Virginia taking the ACT has increased by five percent. Additionally, West Virginia’s number of 69 percent tested remains consistently higher than the national average of 60 percent.

Across the state, the results of the test are mixed. Scores decreased in English, reading, math and science, though West Virginia’s test takers scored higher than the national average in English and on par with the national average in reading. The average composite score for the state decreased from 20.7 in 2016 to 20.4 in 2017.

“Our summative assessment results show positive gains for our students, but the ACT results highlight areas where more work is needed,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “I am thrilled to see the increased desire of our students to take a college entrance exam. Now we need to make sure we are preparing our students to perform at their best.”

The results also indicate 95 percent of ACT-tested graduates in West Virginia plan to enroll in post-secondary education. This number was the same as last year’s percentage, though in actuality only 69 percent of 2016 ACT-tested graduates enrolled in a post-secondary program.

“We want to close that aspirational gap,” Paine said. “We want each and every student who desires to continue his or her education after high school to have the opportunities to do so. This will take a coordinated effort among the West Virginia Department of Education, state legislators and institutions of higher learning statewide, but it is a cause that deserves our attention.”

Another key finding from the ACT Condition of College and Career Readiness report was that more than half of West Virginia graduates (59 percent) expressed having an interest in STEM majors and/or careers. However, only 11 percent of test takers in 2017 met the ACT STEM College Readiness Benchmark.

“Our students show a desire to go into STEM-related fields, which is why the West Virginia Department of Education is ramping up STEM offerings statewide,” said Dr. Lou Maynus, Assistant Superintendent, Division of Teaching and Learning. “We know that these skills are desired by current employers and will fuel the jobs of the future, and we think it is wonderful that our students have a passion for these subjects. It is our duty to ensure that they receive the best education possible to support that passion.”

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test made up of four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science, plus an optional writing test. The test is administered in all 50 states and is the predominant college entrance exam in 25 states, including West Virginia. ACT also assesses a student’s ability to succeed in college.

West Virginia’s complete results can be found by visiting: www.act.org/condition2017

Editor’s Note: Information provided by the W. Va. Department of Education.

Readers may follow WVDE news via Facebook and Twitter.