About Test Results in West Virginia

Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2005-2006 West Virginia used the West Virginia Educational Standards Test (WESTEST) to test students 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 how well students are meeting the state's grade-level expectations.

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 score at mastery or above are considered proficient. The goal is for all students to score at the proficient level on the test.

Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?
Only the scores for reading, math and science are included on GreatSchools profiles. For each subject, the combined percentage of students scoring at and above the mastery level is displayed.

Why do test results 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 a requirement for graduation, some districts may use test scores 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 scores 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
Test scores don't tell you everything about the quality of a particular school, although they can be an indicator of what's happening in the classroom. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final assessment.

Source: WV Dept. of Education, 2005-2006

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