Hosaflook: Wood Schools exceeds state test average

Photo by Michael Erb Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook presents a snapshot of state General Summative Assessment scores, with the school system exceeding state averages in every category.

PARKERSBURG — Initial scores for the West Virginia General Summative Assessment show Wood County Schools exceeding state averages in both reading and math at every grade level.

Superintendent Will Hosaflook presented a brief overview of the scores during Tuesday’s Wood County Board of Education meeting. Hosaflook said while he was given the green light on releasing the overall scores Tuesday, the state will not release a full report, including accountability scores, until noon Thursday.

“The state superintendent has embargoed those results until the state school board meets” Thursday morning, he said.

Hosaflook said the scores show Wood County Schools above state proficiency averages, but added he believed much more work needed to be done.

“There is success at every one of our schools, and it’s important to be celebrating that success,” he said. But, “I’m not satisfied, because there is always room for improvement.”

In third-grade math, 48 percent of West Virginia students were proficient, while 51 percent of Wood County Schools students were proficient. For fourth-grade, the state scored 45 percent and Wood County scored 51 percent. In fifth-grade, the state scored 40 percent and Wood County was 52 percent.

The numbers for elementary school reading were similar. In third-grade, the state scored 47 percent, while Wood County scored 52 percent. In fourth-grade, the state scored 45 percent and Wood County was 47 percent. In fifth-grade, the state scored 44 percent and Wood County was 53 percent.

Middle school proficiency rates were lower for both the state and the county. In math, sixth-graders scored 34 percent at the state level and 36 percent locally. In seventh-grade, the state scored 35 percent and Wood County scored 38 percent. In eighth-grade, the state scored 32 percent and Wood County scored 36 percent.

In sixth-grade reading, the state scored 43 percent and Wood County scored 46 percent. In seventh-grade, the state scored 44 percent and Wood County scored 46 percent. In eighth-grade, the state scored 41 percent and Wood County scored 47 percent.

“We were above the state in every category,” Hosaflook said. “Still, being above the state average is not good enough for me, nor is it good enough for the students, teachers and everyone in this room. We will improve.”

This marked the first year where the national SAT exam was used by West Virginia as a statewide exam for 11th-grade students.

Hosaflook said the county’s three high schools all scored around the state math average of 465 and exceeded the state average of 460 in reading with scores ranging from 485-493. Overall, the state SAT average was 942, and Hosaflook said the high schools were right around that average, with Parkersburg High School being the highest in the county with an overall score of 958.

Hosaflook cautioned the county’s accountability scores, which will not be made public until Thursday, would not be as good, as the test scores were only part of the formula used to determine those numbers. Hosaflook said the main area of concern is attendance, and only one school in the district met those requirements.

Hosaflook said federal changes to the state’s accountability system count almost all days missed by students, even those due to illness or death in the family, as absences, which count against the school’s overall attendance score, even if they are considered excused absences by the school system.

Hosaflook said attendance is an area of concern for Wood County Schools, with about 14 percent of the district’s students considered “chronically absent,” and will be a major part of what he will focus on in the coming months. Board members agreed.

“If kids aren’t in school, they’re not learning,” said board member Justin Raber. “I really feel we need to focus on attendance whole-heartedly. I think it really places accountability on parents and guardians to make sure their children are in school.”

In other business, the board unanimously accepted the resignation of Justin Hoover, a custodian at Vienna Elementary School who was recently arrested and charged for allegedly searching for and viewing nude pictures of children on a school computer. The board was set to approve a suspension and termination, but officials said they received his resignation prior to the start of Tuesday’s meeting.

Hoover was suspended without pay immediately following his arrest and arraignment Sept. 4. Hoover’s actions are still under investigation, but officials do not believe it involved any Vienna Elementary students.

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