Wood County Schools sees mixed results on state scorecard

Photo by Michael Erb Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook, left, distributes certificates of recognition for state test scores at Williamstown High School to Principal Jason Ward, center left, Assistant Principal Kaleb Lawrence, center right, and Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Jeff Givens, right. The state Department of Education Thursday released test scores and accountability scores for schools throughout the state, but while many schools like Williamstown High beat state averages in all testing areas, all schools struggled to meet accountability standards.

PARKERSBURG — The West Virginia Department of Education and state Board of Education have released the West Virginia Schools Balanced Scorecard Thursday as part of West Virginia’s School Accountability System.

While many Wood County schools exceeded state averages in test scores, nearly all of them struggled to meet accountability standards. This is the first year for the new standards.

The department released the accountability results at noon Thursday, though preliminary scores for the state General Summative Assessment were released on a county-basis Tuesday. Each of the accountability standards measured school performance at one of four levels: Did not meet standards, partially met standards, met standards, or exceeded standards.

The state as a whole only partially met standards in six of the 11 areas measured, did not meet standards in two areas, met standards in one area and exceeded standards in one area.

Elementary and middle schools were evaluated on math and English language arts performance values, English and language arts and math progress values, attendance and discipline. High schools were not judged on progress, but did receive scores in graduation rates, “on-track value” and “post-secondary value.”

Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook said it will take educators time to sort through the data provided by the accountability scores. While Wood County Schools exceeded state GSA scores for every grade in every subject, few of the district’s 29 schools fared well on accountability measures, and none received a perfect score, he said.

“We did not have any one school meet all the benchmarks,” he said.

For example, only one Wood County school, Vienna Elementary, met standards in the area of attendance. Six schools did not meet standards, and the rest only partially met the standard.

Hosaflook said in the state calculation of attendance, even excused absences for illness, a family member dying, or even a house fire, were counted against the school and district’s attendance numbers.

While schools throughout the county exceeded state scores in ELA and math, most still scored below standard, because the accountability portion categorized students by their scores and awarded points based on the number of students in each category rather than the average test score.

The high schools also had to show students were “on-track” by having completed 12 credit hours of their sophomore year and 8 of those hours being in the core subjects: math, English, social studies and science. High schools also were evaluated on the college readiness of students by looking at how many graduating seniors had completed technical classes, had completed and passed Advanced Placement exams, or had received a C or above in a dual-credit course.

Hosaflook said the accountability scoring system created some unusual situations, such as schools beating state averages but still not meeting standards. For example, Parkersburg High School, which boasted the highest SAT scores in the county and exceeded state scores in every testing area, only partly met standards in three of the seven accountability areas, did not meet standards in three and met standards in one area. That included only partially meeting standards in English-language arts and not meeting standards in math, despite students’ strong showing on the SAT exam.

“That’s where it gets confusing, because the test scores are different than the accountability portion,” he said.

But Hosaflook said there is value to the scorecard, which will help educators identify areas of concern and need in their schools.

“The accountability hits many areas of the schools,” Hosaflook said. “We’re reaching way out with a lot of accountability measures. We need to dive down into this data even further to find where our deficiencies are.

“What interventions do we need to provide to increase student achievement? What standards do we need to reteach? What standards are we missing? Those are the kinds of things that will come into play. There’s a lot of data here and a lot of ways to come at it.”

Hosaflook and other central office staff visited schools throughout the day Thursday presenting certificates of accomplishment for exceeding state and local test scores in a variety of areas. Hosaflook said nearly every school showed academic progress and achievement on the GSA.