Testing in West Virginia: An Overview
A GreatSchools guide to standardized tests
By GreatSchools Staff
Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2008-2009 West Virginia used the West Virginia Educational Standards Test (WESTEST) to measure student progress in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in reading, math and science, and in grades 3 through 8 in social studies. The WESTEST is a standards-based test that measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of West Virginia.
How are the tests scored?
WESTEST results show the level of proficiency a student demonstrates in each of the subject areas tested. Students are rated at one of five performance levels: distinguished, above mastery, mastery, partial mastery and novice. Students who perform at the mastery level and above are considered proficient. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level.
Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?
For each subject, the combined percentage of students scoring at and above the proficient level is displayed.
Why do the tests matter?
West Virginia test results provide an indication of whether students are making progress toward mastery of state content standards. Although passing the WESTEST is not considered to be a requirement for graduation, some districts may use test results as a factor in determining grade level promotion or retention.
It is important to be aware of both your child's score on the assessments and the overall score for her school. If your child scores below the standards, contact the teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child's learning at home.
Test results are important for schools in West Virginia because the state uses them to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement. If the school's overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help.
A few parting words
Although test results can be an indicator of what's happening in the classroom, they don't tell you everything about the quality of a particular school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final assessment.
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